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Protecting Lungs From Wildfire Smoke

  • View of empty Rose Bowl Loop taken on Saturday, Sept. 12. Photo provided by APIFM.

  • Screen capture of San Gabriel Valley's air quality on Sept. 15, from PurpleAir.

Location

Alhambra , CA

Smoke from the nearby wildfires has caused unhealthy air throughout Los Angeles County, including the San Gabriel Valley and San Gabriel Mountains.

If you see or smell smoke, stay inside and avoid unnecessary outdoor activity. Everyone is at risk especially those with heart or lung disease, older adults, pregnant women and children.

You can protect yourself from unhealthy air by doing the following:

  • Stay indoors

  • Keep your windows and doors closed (if it is hot indoors use a fan to stay cool or go to a cooling center)

  • Avoid the use of air conditioning that draws in air from outside – set it on recycle or recirculate mode

  • Use an air filtration device with a HEPA filter

  • Stop smoking and stop using fireplaces, candles, incense, and vacuums

  • Wear a mask if you have to go outside (if you have an N95 respirator mask that fits tightly to your face, it offers protection from smoke particles)

The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health advises, “if you have symptoms of lung or heart disease that may be related to smoke exposure, including severe coughing, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, wheezing, chest tightness or pain, palpitations, nausea or unusual fatigue or lightheadedness, contact your doctor immediately or go to an urgent care center. If life threatening, please contact 911.”

If you have pets, it is a good idea to bring them inside the house. If you are feeling the effects of smoke, your pets probably are too. Some visible symptoms of respiratory distress in dogs or cats include panting or fast breathing, watery eyes and nasal discharge, reduced appetite or thirst. Call your veterinarian if these symptoms persist.

If you would like to learn more about your local air quality, visit PurpleAir and zoom in on your location. Use the dropdown menu to set the Map Layer Data to “Raw PM2.5 in ug/m^3” to ensure the most accurate sensor readings on the map. Visit the South Coast Air Quality Management District’s website for Southern California air quality information and news alerts.

Screen capture of San Gabriel Valley’s air quality on Sept. 15, from PurpleAir.

Asian Pacific Islander Forward Movement (APIFM) provides free air quality sensors for Alhambra and Monterey Park residents to learn more about the air pollution in their communities. To learn more, visit https://www.apifm.org/cleanairsgv/why/ or contact [email protected]

As September is National Preparedness Month, APIFM would also like to encourage Alhambra residents to prepare so that you are ready to care for your loved ones and neighbors in the event of a disaster or public health emergency. This easy to use Disaster Ready Guide is available in Chinese, Hmong, Korean, Spanish, Tagalog and Vietnamese. LA County Fire’s Ready Set Go page also provides critical information on how you can create a wildfire action plan.


Jeshow Yang is the Policy Coordinator of the API Forward Movement’s Clean Air SGV Campaign team. He focuses on developing and passing an environmental policy platform to improve air quality in the region. As a first-generation immigrant from Taiwan, he believes in creating and supporting community infrastructure that enables people of color to play a role in determining policies.

Thank you for reading our story! Alhambra Source is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization. Our newsroom reports fact-based quality journalism that educates, informs and engages our diverse communities - with no paywall. Support our mission and donate today!

The Alhambra Source encourages comment on our stories. However, we do not vet comments for accuracy or endorse links to posts in the comment section. The thoughts and opinions expressed belong solely to the author of the comment.

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