Special Air Quality Statement for Alberta
A special air quality statement has been issued and it impacts the majority of communities in Alberta due to wildfire smoke. Exposure to air pollutants in wildfire smoke can irritate the lungs, cause inflammation, alter immune function, and increase susceptibility to respiratory infections. A recent study found that long-term exposure to outdoor air pollution significantly negatively impacts lung function, especially for those living with lung disease. The health effects from wildfire smoke can range from mild to severe and can even be life-threatening. When wildfires are in effect, avoid the smoke as much as possible. Smoke can affect everyone’s health and breathing.
People with lung conditions such as asthma and COPD can be especially vulnerable to poor air quality. One in five Canadians suffer from some form of lung disease, so anything external like wildfire smoke, can exacerbate their lung issues and trigger, in the case of asthma, asthma attacks. In the case of COPD, it can trigger COPD attacks, worsening symptoms.
People with lung disease are at a higher risk when exposed to wildfire smoke. To limit the risk of exposure, people with lung conditions are encouraged to stay indoors, watch for air quality reports, and limit outdoor exposure to air pollutants until the air quality statement is lifted.
For more information on about the impact of wildfire smoke on lung health and how to help minimize risk, resources are available on the Alberta Lung website https://ablung.ca/lung-health/air-quality/
To locate current and forecast Air Quality Health Index (AQHI) values, visit https://weather.gc.ca/airquality/pages/index_e.html