Protect yourself from unhealthy air

Powerful winds have spread smoke from wildfires in Eastern Washington across the the state. Take care of your lungs by reducing your exposure to this unhealthy air. 

Dr. Andrew Luks, a pulmonary and critical care physician at Harborview Medical Center, says the smoke may cause mild irritation in the throat or nose of healthy people, but can be more perilous for people who live with lung conditions such as asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). The smoke can worsen their conditions.

"Fortunately the one thing that would help decrease the amount of smoke and particulate matter in the air that you might inhale also happens to be one of the most important things we can do right now to protect ourselves against COVID – which is wear a mask," he says.

Luks also recommends limiting time outdoors and keeping the windows in your home closed, if possible. If you are healthy and choose to exercise, be mindful of how your body is responding, and dial it back if you don't feel well.  If you experience new or worsening symptoms, consider calling your primary care provider to ask for additional guidance.

UW Medicine