Smoky skies in Oregon: 'Close windows, use fans and filter'

Smoky skies in Oregon: 'Close windows, use fans and filter'

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Public health officials recommend limiting your time outside during the heat wave, especially since the wildfire smoke has deteriorated the air quality in the region.

Officials said it’s important to have filtered air from either the filter on your furnace unit or from a portable unit with a fan and filter. If you don’t have one, it might be a good idea to visit a space with cleaner air.

“With the increasing wildfire smoke and the effects of climate change, it’s worth investing in a filter for your home,” said Brendon Haggery, the interim supervisor of the Healthy Homes Community Team at the Multnomah County Health Department. “A lot of homes have that built into their central furnace, so you can make sure that you have a filter rated 13 or higher, if your furnace can handle it and that will help clean the air in your home. You can also order or purchase a portable air cleaner and those are great. You can even make one yourself from a box fan and a furnace filter.”

If you’re struggling to breathe, you may also want to contact your health provider.

“We advise people to close windows and use internal air circulation fans, preferably one with a filter if it’s available,” said Ian Stromquist, the Environmental Health Response Coordinator with the Hood River County Health Department. “If you are feeling health effects like coughing, wheezing, that sort of thing, you need to contact your primary care provider and get some advice.”

Haggerty said Multnomah County has had some hours where the air quality was good, in the moderate category. That overlapped with the coolest part of the day, he said, which would be the time to exercise if you need to.

He also said the websites Oregon Air from the DEQ and Air Now by the EPA are a good place to look for up-to-date air quality readings.

Heat investigation

The Multnomah County Medical Examiner has ruled heat out as the cause of death in the only case investigated so far during the most recent heat wave, the Portland Tribune reported

The name of the victim and cause of death was not available. But the medical examiner reported the investigation was underway on Friday, Aug. 13.

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