Air quality warning issued by SBC Public Health

Air quality warning issued by SBC Public Health

A photo of the DC-10 air tanker near Lake Cachuma. Photo by Mark Sanchez

The Santa Barbara County Public Health Department and the Santa Barbara County Air Pollution Control District expanded the weekend’s Air Quality Watch to an Air Quality Warning.

All areas of the county have potential to be affected by smoke and ash from the Alamo Fire in Northern Santa Barbara County and the Whittier Fire in the Santa Ynez Valley.

Levels of smoke and particles, and areas impacted, will vary. Elevated levels of ozone, or what we think of as smog, are also occurring in regions throughout the county.

Be cautious and use common sense to protect your and your family’s health.

Everyone, especially people with heart or lung disease (including asthma), older adults, and children, should limit time spent outdoors and avoid outdoor exercise when high concentrations of smoke and particles are in the air, and when ozone levels are elevated.

If you have symptoms that may be related to exposure to smoke and/or elevated ozone levels, contact your health care provider.

Symptoms can include repeated coughing, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, wheezing, chest tightness or pain, palpitations, and nausea or unusual fatigue or lightheadedness.

During hot weather, use your best judgment when it comes to keeping your home cool when there is smoke in your area.

Keep windows and doors closed unless it is extremely hot. If you have an air conditioner, run it with the fresh air intake closed and the filter clean.

If you have a whole house fan, turn it off unless it is extremely hot. If smoke is not present where you live, take the opportunity to air out your home.