Heavy smoke haze covered the Nanaimo region Monday, Aug. 13.                                CHRIS BUSH/The News Bulletin

Heavy smoke haze covered the Nanaimo region Monday, Aug. 13. CHRIS BUSH/The News Bulletin

Smoky skies descend on Vancouver Island

The province of B.C. has issued a special bulletin for all of Vancouver Island

Lingering smoke from local wildfires have contributed to the province of British Columbia issuing a smoky skies bulletin for all of Vancouver Island.

Wildfire smoke is expected to impact the region over the next 24-48 hours from Victoria to Port Hardy, Nanaimo to Tofino.

During a wildfire, smoke conditions can quickly change over short distances and can vary considerably hour by hour.

People with pre-existing health conditions, the elderly, infants and children are more likely to experience health effects from smoke exposure.

READ MORE: Feds send help to B.C. to battle wildfires

READ MORE: Lightning sparks more than 30 fires on Vancouver Island

Here are some helpful tips:

Follow your common sense

  • Stop or reduce your activity level if breathing becomes difficult or you feel unwell.
  • Stay cool and drink plenty of fluids.
  • Carry any rescue medications with you at all times.
  • Make sure that children and others who cannot care for themselves follow the
  • same advice.

Monitor your symptoms

  • Different people have different responses to smoke. Mild irritation and discomfort are common, and usually disappear when the smoke clears.
  • People with asthma or other chronic illness should activate the personal care plans they have designed with their family physicians.
  • If you are unsure whether you need medical care, call HealthLink BC at 8-1-1.
  • If you are experiencing difficulty in breathing, chest pain or discomfort, or a severe cough, contact your health care provider, walk-in clinic, or emergency department.
  • If you are having a medical emergency, call 9-1-1.

Tips to reduce your exposure

  • Smoke levels may be lower indoors but will still be elevated, so stay aware of your symptoms even when you are indoors.
  • Running a commercially available HEPA (high efficiency particulate air) filter can improve indoor air quality in the room where the device is located.
  • If you have a forced air heating/cooling system in your home, it may help to change the filter and set the fan to run continuously.
  • Reduce indoor air pollution sources such as smoking, burning incense, and frying foods.
  • Consider going to a library, community center, or shopping mall with cooler filtered air to get some relief from the smoke.
  • If travelling in a car with air conditioning, keep the windows up and the ventilation set to recirculate.
  • If you are very sensitive to smoke, consider moving to another location with cleaner air, but be aware that conditions can change rapidly.
  • Maintaining good overall health is a good way to prevent health effects resulting from short-term exposure to air pollution.

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