Volume 4 Number 20
May 18, 2007

FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH OFFERS PUBLIC HEALTH RECOMMENDATIONS REGARDING WILDFIRE SMOKE

Due to the recent wildfires affecting the state, the Florida Department of Health (DOH) is providing health recommendations to citizens impacted by the wildfire smoke. 

Smoke is a respiratory irritant, and can cause a scratchy throat, and/or irritated eyes and nose.  Smoke may also worsen conditions such as asthma and other chronic respiratory or lung conditions. 

There are many steps you can take to protect yourself and your family from the health effects of smoke: 

  • Be your own health judge. If you can see smoke outside, or you feel the effects of the smoke, avoid prolonged outdoor activities.  It is especially important to limit time spent outdoors for children and persons with existing medical conditions.

  • Stay indoors whenever possible.  Run your air conditioner with a clean filter and the fresh air intake closed, to prevent additional   smoke from entering your home.  If you don't have an air conditioner, and are a comfortable temperature inside with the windows closed, stay inside.  If your home is too warm, seek alternative shelter.

  • Keep particle levels inside and around your home lower by not burning outdoor yard waste, smoking tobacco, or using anything that burns, such as wood fireplaces, gas logs, gas stoves and candles. 

  • Delay vacuuming when possible, as vacuuming stirs up particles already inside your home. 

  • Follow your doctor’s advice about taking your medications and adhere to your asthma management plan if you have asthma or other lung disease.  Call your doctor if your symptoms worsen. 

  • Stay alert to any news coverage or health warnings related to smoke. Pay attention to local air quality reports.  For more information on the air quality index and recommendations: please visit: http://www.dep.state.fl.us/air/airquality.htm

  • For further information, please contact your local county health department or visit www.doh.state.fl.us or www.FloridaDisaster.org

  • The Florida Emergency Information Line: 1-800-342-3557 

  • Public Information Emergency Support Function: 850-921-0384