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Experts warn parents: Our dirty air might be making your kid sick

Experts warn parents: Our dirty air might be making your kid sick

If the heat isn't enough to make you limit your kids time outside, the experts say they're hoping the air will make you reconsider.

Shifting winds are sending smoke from California's wildfire our way, they advise taking extra precaution.

Sensitive groups like children and the elderly are at an increased risk when they breath this stuff.

A lot of people rushed out to buy masks and N-95 respirators last year, a few even sold out.

Experts told Action News these masks can help when the air is really bad, but we aren't there yet.

Cassia Golden and her son spent Thursday afternoon at Kennewick's splash pad.

The Kennewick mother of two said she doesn't keep up with air-quality ratings, and though she's noticed the haze, she isn't worried about it yet.

"Some things you just need to let go," she said. "I just go outside and if I can breath okay and there's not a layer of smog that I can see, and he wants to go out, we're [going] out."

She said last year they stayed in a few times, and if her son mentioned the air or showed signs of bothering him they'd stay inside.

John Lyle with Benton Clean Air said last year was the worst on record, this year's air is still pretty gross.

"Last year was an oddity," he said. "It was pretty severe. I don't think we're quite to that point yet."

Lyle said every year is different depending on where the fires are, and which direction the wind is sending the smoke, adding that the stuff we're seeing on the horizon is mostly smoke from wildfires south of us.

He said said the average adult should be fine right now, but sensitive groups like kids and the elderly are going to start feeling crummy if they aren't careful.

"Now that we're in the orange range you need to definitely need to be paying attention to those groups," he advised. "Spend a little less time outdoors if [you] can."

The Washington State Department of Health has a list of ways the smoke might be affecting your family.

Be on the lookout:

  • Coughing
  • Wheezing
  • Scratchy throat,
  • Irritated sinuses
  • Runny nose
  • Red, irritated, or stinging eyes
  • Difficulty breathing or chest pain
  • Headaches

Lyle said kids or elderly adults with these symptoms need to get out of the dirty air air and remain inside.

"Simply staying indoors is one of your best bets," he said. "Generally, HVACs keeping the air cool makes a big difference."

Lyle said the wind we're expecting later this week could clean the air out, but it could also make it worse.

"It really just depends on the wind direction and where the rest of the fires are." he said.

For to the minute air quality reports, Benton Clean Air and other agencies submit data to the color coded map at Air Quality Now.



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