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HEALTH RISKS ASSOCIATED WITH SMOKE FROM SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA FIRES 

Date: 10/27/2007 

Number: PH07-52 

Contact: Suanne Buggy or Lea Brooks  (916) 440-7259 

SACRAMENTO 

Dr. Mark Horton, director of the California Department of Public Health (CDPH), today urged individuals who live near areas affected by the Southern California fires to stay alert to changing smoke levels.

“Smoky conditions can be hazardous for young children, the elderly, individuals with heart conditions and individuals with respiratory ailments such as asthma, emphysema and bronchitis,” Horton said. “Because of the uncertainty of fire conditions, individuals who are taking medication for these medical conditions should ensure they have at least a five-day supply of medication on hand.”

Governor Schwarzenegger has proclaimed a State of Emergency in the counties of Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego, Santa Barbara, and Ventura due to more than eleven major wildfires. 

Residents who live near the affected areas should be prepared to stay indoors, limit their activity if necessary and check for a "recirculation" function on the air conditioner.  If smoke is present, it will be easier to breathe indoors if air is recirculating instead of drawing smoky air from outdoors.

Californians should seek medical attention if they are experiencing symptoms such as chest pain, chest tightness or shortness of breath.  This is important for not only people with chronic lung or heart disease, but also for individuals who have not been previously diagnosed with such illnesses.  Smoke can "unmask" or produce symptoms of such diseases.

Further information about the status of the fires in Southern California is available on Governor Schwarzenegger’s Office of Emergency Services website at  http://www.oes.ca.gov

 
 
Last modified on: 6/2/2009 11:36 AM