Wildfires in British Columbia are also a concern for the spread of COVID-19 – .

Wildfires in British Columbia are also a concern for the spread of COVID-19 – .

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – Provincial health worker Dr. Bonnie Henry adds yet another reason British Columbians get vaccinated against COVID-19. She says that as the wildfire situation continues to worsen, there are growing fears that more people will be forced to evacuate, which would increase the risk of the virus spreading.

Evacuees are often sent to receive emergency supports at community centers, and this typically sees more people eating and sleeping in the same space.

In these situations, it will be more difficult to physically move away from someone who is elderly or who might be at greater risk, says Henry.

She again urges anyone of age to be vaccinated against the virus to make an appointment immediately.

“Now is the time to make sure you are immune,” she said Thursday.

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She notes that evacuations are not the only concern in forest fires, but that smoke can also cause health problems. Henry says anyone affected by wildfires should watch themselves for issues related to poor air quality and toxic smoke.

“This smoke is really affecting the way people are feeling right now. It is a complex mixture of fine particles and gases such as carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxide, and volatile organic chemicals, and it is more difficult for your lungs to get oxygen into your body. blood. We know that smoke from forest fires can irritate people, especially people with respiratory illnesses, ”she said.

She urges anyone with asthma to make sure to put their pump or other medication in their travel bag, in case they need to leave at any time.

British Columbia’s south coast is one of the only areas without a Friday air quality advisory. Courtesy of: weather.gc.ca

Health officials have studied the long-term effects of smoke, as British Columbia has experienced back-to-back summers of poor air quality. But overall, Henry says it seems like more of a problem in the short term.

“It’s something that can cause serious symptoms right away, mostly irritation, things like a runny nose, sore throat, a mild cough and we all feel like you can’t breathe. “

An air purifier in your home can help, she says, and if you must be outside, wear a face mask. But some people may notice that it is difficult to breathe with the mask on if the conditions are really bad.

Anyone who experiences this should take breaks and stay hydrated, she says.

But she also warns that heat is more of a health risk than smoke for most people.

“However, it is important not to forget, especially with the temperatures we have seen in recent weeks, not to allow yourself to be too hot. For most people, overheating is much more dangerous than breathing smoke.

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Smoke from the wildfires spread to neighboring Alberta, triggering air quality advisories in several areas, including Edmonton and Calgary.

As of Friday morning, Environment Canada is also warning of poor air quality due to forest fires in southern Saskatchewan, Manitoba and parts of western Ontario.


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