Health Effects of Wildfire Smoke – What You Need to Know

Health Effects of Wildfire Smoke

With nearly 550 wildfires still burning across BC, air quality throughout the province continues to deteriorate.  Please share this important safety information with your fellow workers.

What to do if you work outside:

  1. If you are an outdoor worker, use resources from WorkSafe BC.  You should be fitted with an N95 particulate filtering respirator to work in smoky conditions.
  2. Reduce the level of outdoor physical activity during poor air quality episodes and during the hottest time of the day.  Understand that the harder a person breathes the more smoke they inhale.
  3. Make sure you are able to keep cool and have plenty of water to drink.
  4. The faster you breathe, the more smoke you inhale.  Take it easy during smoky periods to keep your breathing rate low, and drink lots of water to help your body cope with the smoke.
  5. Report any symptoms to your first aid attendant or keep a record.

Symptoms to watch for:

  1. Common symptoms during wildfire smoke exposure include eye irritation, runny nose, sore throat, mild cough, phlegm production, wheezy breathing, or headaches.  Such symptoms can generally be managed without medical attention.
  2. Some people may have more severe symptoms, such as shortness of breath, severe cough, dizziness, chest pain, or heart palpitations.
  3. If you experience any of these symptoms, you should seek prompt medical attention.  Call HealthLink BC (8-1-1) for advice, talk to your primary care physician, or visit a walk-in clinic.

For more resources and information about the health effects of wildfire smoke, click here.