An air quality advisory has been issued for Port Alberni.
The Ministry of Environment & Climate Change Strategy in collaboration with the Vancouver Island Health Authority has issued the advisory due to high concentrations of fine particulate matter that are expected to persist until weather conditions change.
Exposure is particularly a concern for individuals with chronic conditions such as asthma, COPD, heart disease, and diabetes; respiratory infections such as COVID-19, pregnant women, infants, and older adults. The health authority is advising that persons with chronic underlying medical conditions or acute infections should postpone or reduce strenuous exercise until the advisory is lifted.
Where appropriate, maintain physical distancing. Anyone experiencing symptoms such as continuing eye or throat irritation, chest discomfort, shortness of breath, cough or wheezing, should follow the advice of their health care provider. Staying indoors helps to reduce particulate matter exposure.
Real-time air quality observations and information regarding the health effects of air pollution can be found at https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/environment/air-land-water/air.
Fine particulate matter, PM2.5, refers to airborne solid or liquid droplets with diameters of 2.5 mi- crometres (μm) or less. PM2.5 levels tend to be highest around busy roads, industrial operations and neighbourhoods with residential wood burning.
Tips to reduce risk to your health include using common sense regarding outdoor physical activity: if your breathing becomes difficult or uncomfortable, stop or reduce the activity.
Run an air cleaner such as a HEPA filter if you have one to reduce indoor particulate levels.
In public spaces, buildings with large indoor volumes of filtered outside air may provide temporary relief.When indoors, health officials are asking people to ensure physical distancing guidelines for COVID-19 are observed.
Additional tips for persons with chronic underlying medical conditions:
• People with heart or respiratory conditions (including COVID-19) should watch for any change in symptoms that may be due to poor air quality exposure. If any symptoms are noted, affected individuals should take steps to reduce their exposure to poor air quality. If symptoms continue to be bothersome, seek medical attention.
• People with asthma or other chronic illness should activate their asthma or personal care plan.
• People with chronic underlying medical conditions or acute infections should postpone or reduce strenuous exercise until the advisory is lifted.
• Stay indoors, keep windows and doors closed and reduce indoor sources of pollution such as smoking, vacuuming and use of wood stoves. When indoors, ensure physical distancing guidelines for COVID-19 are observed.