Environment Canada issued an air quality statement for the M.D. of Foothills on Sunday as smoke from the B.C. wildfires has blown into the Foothills causing poor air quality and reduced visibility.

Alberta Health Services has also issued a precautionary Air Quality Advisory for the area, as parts of Calgary are sitting at a High Risk air quality rating of 7 out of 10.

David Strong, Medical Health Officer Calgary Zone for AHS, says when the air quality is as poor as it has been it affects everyone, adding those with chronic conditions need to closely monitor their symptoms.

"For people who have chronic health problems such as lung problems, or heart problems they should definitely reduce the amount of time they spend outdoors," he says. "If they have worsening symptoms they can do the things their physicians hopefully beforehand should have told them to do when they start to have worsening conditions, changes in medication etcetera. They can always call Health Link and speak to a registered nurse for some advice as well."

Strong adds even those without health conditions should limit time outdoors, especially doing activities that require a lot of physical exertion.

He shares infants and small children can also be more affected by poor air quality than most people, and advises parents to keep air quality within their homes high.

"When you have smoke like this from fires you have what are called small particulates in the air, small children and infants have smaller airways, and the small particulates can irritate those airways and can cause problems with breathing. It's a good idea when the air quality is poor that they keep their kids indoors, don't let them play outside, or have activities outdoors. It's good that the temperature is a bit cooler than it's been in the last week, so we don't need to think about keeping our windows open so much. Keep the windows closed, and don't have doors open for long."

Another tip from AHS to protect yourself from small particulates and smoke is to re-circulate air in a vehicle rather than pulling it from outside for air conditioning.

For air quality ratings in the area click here.

Questions, comments, or story ideas? Email us at [email protected]

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