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Wildfire smoke and heart health

Most of us are aware that wildfire smoke can affect our eyes, sinuses and lungs, but there is another impact that wildfire smoke can have on our health. People with chronic heart disease, as well as those with lung disease such as asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), may be more likely to have serious health effects from wildfire smoke.

Last spring, the Journal of the American Heart Association published a study that examined cardiac arrests in 14 wildfire-affected counties in California between 2015 and 2017. According to the American Heart Association, the “researchers compared smoke exposure around the time of the cardiac arrest to the exposure over three previous weeks. Cardiac arrest risk increased on days of heavy smoke exposure and for several days afterward, peaking at 70% higher on the second day after smoke exposure.”

The researchers advise:

  • Avoiding activities that involve exertion and exposure when there is wildfire smoke
  • Staying inside with doors and windows closed
  • Using high-efficiency air filters in air conditioning systems

To read the full article, go to the American Heart Association webpage. You can find more information on wildfire smoke and public health at this link.

If you have a medical emergency from smoke, you should call 911 or go to the hospital emergency room immediately. Contact your healthcare provider for advice on how to prevent and treat symptoms from exposure to wildfire smoke.