The Canyon Fire 2 is raging in Orange County. Did you wake up this week feeling different? Wildfires can be dangerous even if you’re not directly exposed to flames.
California has been ravaged this month by several vast, devastating wildfires that have caused loss of life and untold property damage. It’s a sad situation, and unfortunately it affects many of us who aren’t even in the direct path of the blaze, as well. When wildfires rage in your general geographic area, particulate matter, smoke, and harmful gases flood the air that we breathe — even from miles away.
You’ve probably noticed it yourself recently, or at least upon reflection you might realize that you didn’t feel your best during a large fire like the Canyon Fire 2 in Orange County this week. While these fires are engulfing trees and property, they’re potentially causing you to have headaches, feel short of breath, experience rapid heartbeat, as well as fatigue. If you have asthma or an existing respiratory problem, it’s especially noticeable for you, and you’ll probably experience more difficulty managing your condition while the fire is still in progress.
Everyone should do what they can to avoid the adverse effects of the Canyon Fire 2 (or any fire), but that’s especially true for pregnant women, the elderly, children, and people with compromised respiratory or immune systems. Understand the air conditions for what they are: even though you may not visibly see any difference in the air, there is a high amount of particulate matter flying around. When your body attempts to breathe in those foreign objects, your immune system fights back; but in the meantime, you may experience any of the aforementioned symptoms as your body attempts to cope with the air.
Tip #1 for protecting yourself is to keep an eye on the air quality each day: when you know it’s bad, limit your time outside to a bare minimum and keep doors and windows shut. You should attempt to keep the indoor air as clean as possible, so avoid lighting candles or cooking a big meal that will result in smoke. Once you’ve at least procured a reasonably clean-air situation indoors for you to breath, there are ways to ease the discomfort that comes with breathing in wildfire-polluted air.
Drink lots of water to stay hydrated — this is a basic way to make sure your body is performing as it should. If your eyes are irritated, using eye drops as instructed by the label can ease discomfort. And finally, changing out of the clothes you were wearing outside (which may even still smell distinctly smoky) will help as well. If you feel overwhelmed by the effect of the smoke, you can seek medical attention to ensure that everything is OK. Stay safe out there California!