Ventura County Health Officials Warn Residents to Avoid Wildfire Smoke
Smoke and ash from the Camarillo Springs fire are affecting air quality in Ventura County. Due to the combination of high winds and the spreading blaze, smoke and ash are currently present in the air and may pose a health threat for some individuals.
Smoke and ash irritate the eyes, nose and throat and may be harmful to breathe but, according to Ventura County Public Health (VCPH) officials, not everyone who is exposed to thick smoke will have health problems.
“The level and duration of exposure, age, individual susceptibility, including the presence or absence of pre-existing lung or heart disease, and other factors play significant roles in determining whether or not someone will experience smoke-related health problems,” said Dr. Robert Levin, Ventura County Public Health Officer.
In areas near or downwind from the fire that are impacted by blowing dust, smoke and/or ash, VCPH officials urge people to exercise caution and remain indoors. Residents should stay inside their homes, bring pets inside, keep windows and doors closed, use air conditioners on the recycle or re-circulate mode and avoid vigorous physical exertion both indoors and outdoors. At the first sign of discomfort, individuals should relocate to another area that is smoke-free.
Residents who develop symptoms such as shortness of breath, wheezing, exhaustion, lightheadedness or chest pain with decreased activity are advised to stop all activity and seek medical attention. This is important not only for people with chronic lung or heart disease, but also for individuals who have not been diagnosed previously with such illnesses. Smoke can “unmask” or produce symptoms of such diseases.
The onset of the California fire season reminds us that it is important to have enough food, water and medication on hand to last five days. Foods stored for use during the fire season should not require cooking, since cooking can add particles to indoor air.