CENTRAL NEW YORK (WSYR-TV) — The air quality in Central New York is currently labeled as “very unhealthy” but what does that mean?
It means the haze can be more harmful to people with heart and lung issues. It’s recommended every one, regardless of age, limit their time outside with doctors recommending that you consider moving any physical activity inside.
This poor air quality comes from Canadian wildfire smoke that has moved down into Northern and Central New York, causing the worst air quality CNY has seen in a while.
Everyone is advised to stay inside with the windows closed as doctors, including Medical Director for Summerwood Pediatrics Dr. Robert Dracker, is reminding everyone that any exposure to smoke is not good for you.
“You don’t need to inhale smoke if you don’t need to. I mean when I was a kid my father smoked in the car and I was always inhaling smoke probably greater than what the warning is now if you think about it, but we’re very concerned with air quality, and usually in Central New York we have good air quality but when it’s obvious, just like the yellow coloration of the sky right now, it’s silly to really do that,” said Dr. Dracker.
This is the worst air quality Central New York has seen in 20 years according to the State DEC. Almost nobody, but especially older people, children, and people with heart and lung issues should stay inside with the windows closed.
“We are not trying to send a message to everyone that should be construed as alarmist. It’s going to be alright. People might feel a little strange, high-risk people should avoid outdoors and heavy exertion, but this is not something that should have huge effects a long time. N-85 might be usual, but not critical for keeping people safe,” said Onondaga County Health Commissioner, Dr. Kathryn Anderson.
“We’ve been reminding them to check their inhalers if they have asthma, if they do, just call to have them available, so they have something if they experience some wheezing,” said Dr. Dracker.
The most harmful thing that comes from smoke like this is particulate matter, more specifically fine particulate matter. Particulate matter is tiny particles or droplets in the air that are two and one-half microns or less in width that can travel deeply into the respiratory tract, reaching the lungs.
“Exposure to fine particles can cause short-term health effects such as eye, nose, throat, and lung irritation, coughing, sneezing, runny nose, and shortness of breath. Exposure to fine particles can also affect lung function and worsen medical conditions such as asthma and heart disease.” stated the NYSDOH.
Long-term exposure to fine particulate matter can result in increased rates of chronic bronchitis, reduced lung function, and death from lung cancer and heart disease caused by this matter.
That is why doctors are seriously recommending everyone stay inside if they can. “If you have to go outdoors, if you wear an N95 mask, they are very effective at removing particles,” said Acting State Health Commissioner Dr. James McDonald
In regards to air conditioning, The State Health Commissioner says it’s “a fair and good thing to do” to turn on your air conditioner to filter the air and keep it cool, but not too cool.