GARDNERVILLE, Nev. (August 1, 2018) – Fires burning in surrounding regions forced air quality in Carson Valley into the unhealthy range Wednesday morning.
Smoke from a number of fires in California clouded skies through much of the month of July and continued to lay a thick blanket over the Valley on the first day of August.
As of noon on Wednesday, air quality registered at 162, which is in the “unhealthy” range (151-200), meaning anyone venturing outdoors may experience adverse health effects, with sensitive groups being more susceptible to more serious health effects.
Carson Valley Medical Center encourages area residents are urged to stay indoors with windows and doors shut whenever possible until air quality improves. For those that must be outside, or must remain inside without central air conditioning, a particulate respirator mask is recommended. These masks are sold at many hardware or home repair stores and at pharmacies — they will have the word “NIOSH” and either “N95” or “P100” printed on them.
Air quality is expected to continue to register between the “unhealthy for sensitive groups” and the “unhealthy” ranges through the remainder of Wednesday and Thursday.
Smoke is made up of a complex mixture of gases and fine particles produced when wood and other organic matter burn. The biggest health threat from smoke comes from fine particles. These microscopic particles can get into your eyes and respiratory system, where they can cause health problems such as burning eyes, runny nose, and illnesses such as bronchitis. Fine particles also can aggravate chronic heart and lung diseases – and even are linked to premature deaths in people with these conditions.
The smoke in the air can irritate the eyes and airways, causing coughing, a scratchy throat, irritated sinuses, headaches, stinging eyes or a runny nose. If you have heart or lung disease, smoke might make your symptoms worse.
Some people are more susceptible than others when the air gets smoky. If you have heart or lung disease, such as congestive heart failure, angina, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, emphysema or asthma, you may experience health effects earlier and at lower smoke levels than healthy people.Older adults are more likely to be affected by smoke, possibly because they are more likely to have heart or lung diseases than younger people.
Children also are more susceptible to smoke for several reasons: their respiratory systems are still developing; they breathe more air (and air pollution) per pound of body weight than adults; and they’re more likely to be active outdoors.
If you are concerned with any symptoms (trouble breathing, excessive sweating, etc.) related to the air quality, it is recommended you contact your physician or seek immediate medical assistance if necessary. Carson Valley Medical Center has urgent care (897 Ironwood Drive, Minden) and emergency (1107 N Highway 395, Gardnerville) facilities available. Our Minden Family Medicine rural health clinic (1649 Lucerne Street, 775-782-1603) offers same-day availability as well. If you are not currently set up with a primary care physician, you can call 775-782-1545 and have an appointment scheduled.
View updated air quality forecasts at airnow.gov.