A message from the Alliance of Nurses for Healthy Environments (ANHE) Executive Director, Katie Huffling:
Here at ANHE we’ve been hearing from lots of folks in the areas impacted by the poor air quality from the wildfires in Canada. I’m in the DC area and on June 7 and 8 we were at a code purple day with very unsafe air quality for even healthy folks. We haven’t even started wildfire season in much of the US and with climate change these types of air conditions are going to be more frequent.
With poor air quality reducing exposure is key to preventing illness and exacerbations, especially for patients with cardiac and respiratory diseases. Nurses can play a key role in educating patients on what they need to do during a poor air quality day to reduce their exposure to pollutants like ozone and particulate matter. See below for a link to resources you can use for counseling patients (and for yourselves) to help them be safer when the air quality is poor. Bernadette Mae Longo, PhD, RN, CNL, PHNA-BC, FAAN created this great resource for providers and patients with the Nevada Nurses Association:
The Nevada Nurses Association website hosts the NNA Wildfire Smoke Information Dashboard with many great resources specific to nurses and their patients.
The Western States Pediatric Environmental Health Specialty Unit (WSPEHSU)’s Wildfires and Children’s Health webpage host several resources on wildfire smoke and human health, including lectures, journal articles, and CE for physicians and other health professionals.
The American Lung Association offers many great resources on how to cope with wildfire smoke and protect yourself and your family, including factsheets, videos, action plan templates, and more.
I’d also highly recommend signing up for airnow.gov alerts. The alerts provide you with the air quality estimates of the air quality for the NEXT day so you can plan your activities for that day. Weather apps on phones also contain information on air quality (in the Weather.com app if you tap on air quality it brings up more health information and details on the pollutant).
Photo credit @cleanairmoms
Photo credit @abc7ny