Smoke from forest fires is a form of air pollution that can damage your health.
Why is smoke harmful?
It contains very small particles of pollution (known as PM) that penetrate the lungs when inhaled. These particles can cause irritation and inflammation. Of all the pollutants present in forest fire smoke, it is particulate matter that poses the greatest health risk.
Most symptoms can be treated without medical intervention:
Exhalation of phlegm
Some people may experience more serious symptoms and need to seek immediate medical attention. Talk to your doctor at an outpatient clinic if you experience the following symptoms:
Shortness of breath
People at risk
Everyone reacts differently to smoke, and some people are at greater risk of health effects. It is particularly important for the following groups of people to reduce their exposure to wildfire:
- People with pre-existing chronic conditions such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), heart disease and diabetes.
- pregnant women
- infants and young children
- the elderly
- People diagnosed with a respiratory infection.
Forest fire smoke can affect other people too. Everyone reacts differently, so listen to your body and reduce your exposure if smoke affects you.