Does a KN
HomeHome > News > Does a KN

Does a KN

May 12, 2023

<p><a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Smoke that's been blown</a> southward from hundreds of Canadian <a href="″ target="_blank" rel="noopener">wildfires</a> are <a href="">causing hazardous air-quality conditions across the eastern United States</a>. With all the nasty air particles floating around, experts say you should wear a mask if you do venture out.</p><p class="default__StyledText-sc-1wxyvyl-0 hnShxL body-paragraph">Just like with the coronavirus, the stronger the mask, the better, although any face covering is better than none, <a href="">said Ramón Tallaj, a doctor who leads SOMOS Community Care,</a> a nonprofit health network based in New York.</p><p><img class="size-article_inline lazyautosizes lazyload" src=";ssl=1″ sizes="491px" srcset=";ssl=1 620w,;ssl=1 780w,;ssl=1 810w,;ssl=1 1280w,;ssl=1 1860w" alt="Smoke From Canadian Wildfires Blows South Creating Hazy Conditions On Large Swath Of Eastern U.S." width="1024″ data-sizes="auto" data-src=";ssl=1″ data-attachment-id="3086349″ data-srcset=";ssl=1 620w,;ssl=1 780w,;ssl=1 810w,;ssl=1 1280w,;ssl=1 1860w" /> People wear masks as they wait for the tramway to Roosevelt Island as smoke from Canadian wildfires casts a haze over the area on June 7, 2023 in New York City. Air pollution alerts were issued across the United States due to smoke from wildfires that have been burning in Canada for weeks. (Photo by Eduardo Munoz Alvarez/Getty Images)</p><p>Dr. Jennifer Logan, a pediatric pulmonologist with Lehigh Valley Health Network in Pennsylvania, <a href="">told The Morning Call</a> that wearing most masks will not help protect against smoke inhalation and the small particulates in the smoke can even collect in the masks, meaning that wearing a cloth, surgical or low-quality filtration mask may actually be counterproductive.</p><p>However, Chrysan Cronin, director of public health at Muhlenberg College in Allentown, Pennsylvania, said for people who have to spend extended amounts of time outdoors for work or some other reason, a N95 mask can be effective, as it can filter out extremely small particles.</p><p><a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Meteorologist John Homenuk</a> also said N95 masks are "going to filter out these particles most effectively."</p><p>"If you still have an N95 mask or you want to go grab one, it's recommended to wear them because they do filter the harmful particles out, at least to some degree," <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Homenuk</a> told the New York Daily News.</p><p class="default__StyledText-sc-1wxyvyl-0 hnShxL body-paragraph">Tallaj did have a tip for those who may only have surgical masks on hand: Flip the mask so that the smoother, blue side is on the inside, near your mouth.</p><p class="default__StyledText-sc-1wxyvyl-0 hnShxL body-paragraph">"Surgeons use it with the blue part outside, because they don't want their mouth and their breathing to go inside the patients during surgery," Tallaj said. "In this case, it's the other way around. You don't want the [particles] to come to you."</p><h4 class="header__StyledHeading-sc-30ohha-0 fjSHlS">Is this smoke just uncomfortable or dangerous?</h4><p class="default__StyledText-sc-1wxyvyl-0 hnShxL body-paragraph">Both.</p><p>Logan <a href="">told The Morning Call</a> that for children, the elderly and those with respiratory conditions like asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and cystic fibrosis, the small particulates in the smoke can be particularly harmful. But she added everyone should try to minimize their exposure to the smoke.</p><p><img class="size-article_inline lazyautosizes lazyload" src=";ssl=1″ sizes="491px" srcset=";ssl=1 620w,;ssl=1 780w,;ssl=1 810w,;ssl=1 1280w,;ssl=1 1860w" alt="Smoke from wildfires in Canada affect the Lehigh Valley for a second day Wednesday, June 7, 2023, as seen at Easton Avenue in Bethlehem. (April Gamiz/The Morning Call)" width="2751″ data-sizes="auto" data-src=";ssl=1″ data-attachment-id="3086358″ data-srcset=";ssl=1 620w,;ssl=1 780w,;ssl=1 810w,;ssl=1 1280w,;ssl=1 1860w" /> Smoke from wildfires in Canada affect the Lehigh Valley for a second day Wednesday, June 7, 2023, as seen at Easton Avenue in Bethlehem. (April Gamiz/The Morning Call)</p><p>She said the particulate matter in the smoke is very small and can easily work its way into the smallest airways of the lungs, which can cause coughing and wheezing, particularly in people with chronic respiratory conditions.</p><p>However, even for healthy people, prolonged exposure can cause short-term problems like eye irritation, pulmonary inflammation and issues with lung function, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.</p><p>Dr. Douglas Corwin, a critical care physician specializing in pulmonary disease with St. Luke's University Health Network based in Pennsylvania, said for most people, short-term exposure should cause nothing more than temporary annoyance or mild discomfort.</p><p>"The smell can be irritating, annoying or it can be a little frankly nauseating, but in terms of long-term health repercussions this short burst shouldn't cause any permanent damage," Corwin said.</p><h4 class="header__StyledHeading-sc-30ohha-0 fjSHlS">Should I even go outside?</h4><p class="default__StyledText-sc-1wxyvyl-0 hnShxL body-paragraph">Young people, older adults and people with underlying health issues <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">should stay indoors</a> and keep their windows shut. All others should also limit their <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">exposure to the outdoors</a> and take precautions.</p><p class="default__StyledText-sc-1wxyvyl-0 hnShxL body-paragraph">"The main thing is to limit outdoor exposure and obviously any strenuous activity. You don't want to be gasping for air and breathing this stuff in all day, if you can avoid it," <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Homenuk</a> <a href="">told the Daily News</a>.</p><p>Parents should limit outdoor play for their children, Logan said. "Children breathe faster and when you’re exercising you breathe in much deeper and faster so you will inhale more particulate matter if you are exercising outside," Logan said.</p><p>Corwin said that those with respiratory issues or parents of children with respiratory issues should follow existing action plans set out by their physicians or should contact their doctors if they need extra guidance. Logan said everyone should stay inside when possible, keep windows closed and make sure their air filters are clean.</p><p>"If you can smell the smoke, you’re probably breathing in the particulate matter," Logan said. "If you’re not smelling it, you’re probably in the clear."</p><h4>Are there effects of repeated smoke inhalation?</h4><p>Research into the effects of repeated short-term exposure to wildfire smoke is limited. Studies have shown reduced and worsening lung function in firefighters exposed to heavy smoke while fighting wildfires, according to the EPA. Some studies have shown also <a href="″>correlations with wildfire smoke exposure and increases in general mortality, respiratory illness and cancer</a>.</p><p>However, wildfires and wildfire smoke exposure has been shown to cause respiratory issues leading to increased emergency room visits and hospital admissions for respiratory illness in affected areas. Corwin said this is why both people with chronic respiratory illness and healthy people should be careful.</p><p>"Be smart about it. If you don't need to be outside training for a marathon, for the next couple of days maybe this is the time to be inside in the gym, where there's kind of purified or filtered air via air conditioning," Corwin said. "Hopefully this is a relatively transient event. It should be hopefully clearing out the next 24 to 48 hours — if activities can be delayed, they should."</p><p><em>Contributing: Leif Greiss, The Morning Call; Josephine Stratman and Chris Sommerfeldt, New York Daily News</em></p>

Sign up for email newsletters

Follow Us