Right now, public health advocates are encouraging people to stay indoors to minimize smoke exposure, and take steps to improve indoor air quality:
- Close all windows, doors, and any other openings.
- If you have air conditioning, set it to recirculate if possible.
- When in a car, keep windows closed. Turn the air-conditioning to re-circulate. Replace air filters according to your vehicle maintenance schedule.
Rob Laumbach, physician and researcher for the Rutgers University’s Center for Environmental Exposures and Disease, offered, “as you know, today’s air quality in New Jersey is the worst it has been in many years, due to smoke from the wildfires in Quebec, Canada. Yesterday and this morning, the Air Quality Index (AQI) reached “Unhealthy” for everyone, not only sensitive groups (people with medical conditions such as asthma, children and older folks). This condition is predicted to persist for today and possibly into tomorrow.”
Maida Galvez, Pediatrician and Professor, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, also put together a fact sheet on wildfire smoke reflecting rising AQI levels which includes links to Spanish resources. Borrowing from healthychildren.org, Galvez underscores that during a wildfire, children can experience:
- Shortness of breath or trouble breathing
- Irritation of the nose, throat, and eyes
- Feeling dizzy or lightheaded
She cautions against children doing physical activities outdoors. A copy of the fact sheet is at the bottom of this page.
Laumbach shared the following resources on smoke conditions, health effects, and what people can do to reduce exposure and health risks in an email to community members:
EPA’s AirNow provides current and forecast air quality information: https://www.airnow.gov.
The EPA’s guide for actions to take depending on the Air Quality Index value for PM2.5 for different groups of people is below.
The Air Quality Index for Asbury Park as of 8PM on June 7, 2023, was reported as Hazardous on AirNow.gov. Mayor Moor stated, “the City is monitoring all the OEM reports and will take action as necessary. As of yet, there are no plans,” referring to providing additional resources.
Disclosure: The author of this article is employed by Rutgers University’s Center for Environmental Exposures and Disease.