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American Lung Association Urges People Living Near Wildfires to Protect Themselves Against Staggering Levels of Unhealthy Air Pollution
Date:7/3/2008

ung Association advises asthma patients who cannot reach their doctor to continue to take their medication and closely follow their asthma action plan as prescribed.

People living near fire-stricken areas are encouraged to stay inside as much as possible, with doors, windows and fireplace dampers shut -- with clean air circulating through air conditioners and/or air cleaners. The American Lung Association reminds residents to use the recirculation setting on their home air conditioners to avoid outdoor air contamination, but warns against using whole house fans, which can bring in unfiltered outside air.

Ordinary dust masks, designed to filter out large particles should not be used as they still allow the more dangerous, smaller particles resulting from the fires to pass through. Disposable particle masks available at hardware and home supply stores can better help filter out harmful fine particles. Look for masks labeled "N95" or "P1000" that come with two straps, which can be adjusted to fit tightly on the face. It should be noted that these types of masks can be difficult for people with lung disease to use, so a doctor should be consulted before purchasing.

The volunteer response for clean up has been tremendous and is commended by the American Lung Association. At the same time, the Association advises clean up workers to use caution to protect their lungs. Areas covered in dust and soot should be thoroughly wet prior to clean up as a means to reduce further air pollutants. Workers should wear an N95 mask described above and replace it daily. Areas where asbestos and other hazardous materials are suspected should be avoided.

For more information on how to protect yourself during wildfires, please visit http://www.lungusa.org for timely advice and updates.

About the American Lung Association: Beginning our second century, the American Lung Association is the leading organizatio
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SOURCE American Lung Association
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