When the blue of the sky and the stars in the night are hidden by smoke, just imagine what that smoke can do to people. Wildfire smoke is a mixture of gases and fine particles from burning plants and trees. When there is an excess amount of smoke or the particles are large, breathing in the smoke becomes hazardous, according to the Oregon Health Authority.
Sensitive populations such as those who experience respiratory and heart problems, young children and older adults are more susceptible to the smoke and related health risks.
Teams from a local senior living community will distribute smoke masks to local first responders, churches and senior centers to protect seniors against the smoke. They’ll also be explaining how to remain safe while the air quality is unhealthful, according to a Brookdale Senior Living press release.
Smoke masks are available for those in need at Brookdale Senior Living facilities at 548 North Main St. in Ashland, 3033 Barnett Road in Medford and 261 Loto St. in Eagle Point,
Additionally, staff from these teams are prepared to deliver smoke masks and information to seniors who do not have the resources to obtain them on their own. For a free home visit, call 541-482-3292.
Only specific masks known as particulate respirators will filter these hazardous particles. This mask should say N95 or N100 on it. If it doesn’t, then there’s little chance it will work well against wildfire smoke.
It’s even more important for these sensitive populations, especially seniors to remain indoors at all times while the air is unhealthful. Seniors are more affected by wildfire smoke because they tend to have preexisting conditions and because their bodies cannot compensate for the effects it has on their health.
“Air pollution can lead to lung diseases; can aggravate heart disease, stroke, and diabetes,” according to the Brookdale release. “It can also exacerbate existing lung conditions such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder, asthma, and emphysema.”
To monitor the air quality, visit oraqi.deq.state.or.us/home/map.
To limit smoke exposure:
Do not go outside unless necessary.
Wear a N95 mask when outside.
Make sure doors and windows are closed.
Make sure air filters are clean or new. Allergen filters are the best for filtering smoke.
Think about using an air purifier inside any rooms that get a lot of use. Bi-Mart and Ace Hardware generally have air purifiers in stock.
For more information on Brookdale, visit brookdale.com.
To get the kids out of the smoke, Northwest Nature Shop at 154 Oak St. in Ashland will host a free indoor faciliated arts and crafts day. Build oragami cranes, recommended for ages 8-18, from 3-5 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 2,
For more information, visit www.northwestnatureshop.com, or call 541-482-3241.
Also due to the smoke, the Ashland City Band free concert scheduled for Thursday, Aug. 2, in Lithia Park has been moved to the SOU recital hall. Free parking is avaiable in the lot across from Mountain Avenue near SOU’s music building. The show starts at 7 p.m.