McHenry County Issues Smoke Precautions
Smoke from a Minnesota forest fire has traveled more than 400 miles and air quality could remain unhealthy for days.
Smoke in the area could be a health risk especially for asthma or breathing ailments, said Joseph Gugle, McHenry County Department of Health administrative manager.
David Christensen of the McHenry County Emergency Management Agency said he contacted the National Weather Service and was told the the fire could be increasing in size over the next few days. North-northwest winds would continue to blow smoke into northern Illinois.
Christensen said the smoke could be a serious issue for people with respiratory problems, young children or elderly people.
"For healthy individuals, jogging this evening is out. For those at risk, the best bet is stay inside with filtered air," Christensen said.
Precautions from the McHenry County Department of Health:
- Leave the area if you are at greater risk from breathing smoke.
- Limit your exposure to smoke outdoors and indoors.
- Stay inside and use your air conditioner. If you do not have an air conditioner or smoke is likely to get inside your house, leave the area until the smoke is completely gone.
- Avoid activities that put extra demands on your lungs and heart. These include exercising or physical chores, both outdoors and indoors.
- Make sure you take all your medications according to the doctor’s directions. Contact your doctor if your health gets worse.
- An “N95” mask, properly worn, will offer some protection. Paper "comfort" or "dust" masks commonly found at hardware stores are designed to trap large particles, such as sawdust. These masks will not protect your lungs from smoke.