Concerns with haze after Canadian wildfire

Published: Jun. 6, 2023 at 8:39 PM CDT
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JONESBORO, Ark. (KAIT) - You may notice a haze in the sky as summer progresses.

A combination of pollution, smoke, and lack of precipitation causes this haze, and more recently, the forest fires in Canada have brought some haze down, which can be harmful to your health.

Like seasonal allergies, when the air is hazier, people with preexisting conditions are at a higher risk of complications like coughing and trouble breathing.

Haze consists of ultra-small particles that linger in the air, making them very easy to breathe.

Dr. John Thomas, a St. Bernards Pulmonologist, says breathing in these particles can lead to health issues for some.

“They really affect a vulnerable population, particularly young children and older adults. Particularly those that already have health issues like COPD or asthma,” Thomas said.

With drier weather, Thomas says it will only get worse.

Drier air causes a risk of more wildfires and more smoke in the air.

While poor air quality isn’t preventable, Dr. THomas said there are several things you can do to prevent health issues.

“People that are vulnerable probably need to stay indoors,” Thomas explained. “They can wear an N-95 mask, but that’s not very practical. Making sure their HVAC systems are well serviced and their filters are cleaned, things like that.”

A quick way to see if you need to take precautions before heading outdoors is to check the air quality index. If the index is over 100, it’s considered unhealthy for sensitive health groups.