4 Tips for Coping with Wildfire Smoke

Dr. Michael Lewis

By Pulmonologist Michael Lewis, MD

Air quality is noticeably bad right now because of the massive wildfires burning along the West Coast. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is warning people throughout the Northwest to take respiratory precautions.

Here at the coast, our air quality has been classified as “Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups” which includes people with lung disease or heart disease, older adults, and children, all of whom are at a greater risk from exposure to ozone or particles in the air. 

Stay healthy with these tips:

  1. Avoid going outside, unless absolutely necessary.
  2. Wearing a simple paper mask, available at all hardware stores, can be helpful if you must be outside.
  3. Avoid any smoking, including marijuana, vaping and e-cigs.
  4. If you suffer from asthma, COPD, or other lung conditions, let your healthcare provider know if you develop an increased need for your rescue inhaler or have new onset of coughing or wheezing.

Everyone traveling east of the Coast Range should consider taking respiratory precautions, like those above. The air quality in much of Washington State and northern Oregon is considered “Unhealthy” for all people.

Michael Lewis, MD, is a board-certified pulmonologist with the CMH Pulmonology Clinic.

Wildfire