Those with respiratory conditions, including COVID-19, are warned of continuing poor air quality in Vernon.
A road dust advisory has been issued by Interior Health and the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy.
The advisory, issued Feb. 9, continued Feb. 10 and is due to high concentrations of coarse particulate matter that are expected to persist until there is precipitation, dust suppression or a change in traffic patterns.
Air quality in Vernon has improved slightly from 53.6 Tuesday to 52 Wednesday. Those numbers are compared to 17 in Kelowna Wednesday and 7.5 Tuesday. The numbers are measured by course and fine particulate matter, where 50 micrograms per cub metre is is the provincial objective.
“Levels tend to be highest around busy roads and industrial operations,” the ministry said.
Exposure is particularly a concern for pregnant women, infants, and older adults, as well as, individuals with conditions such as asthma, COPD, heart disease, diabetes or respiratory infections such as COVID-19.
“Persons with chronic underlying medical conditions or acute infections should postpone or reduce strenuous exercise until the advisory is lifted,” the ministry advises.
Tips to reduce your personal health risk:
• Avoid roads with heavy vehicle traffic.
• Continue to manage medical conditions such as asthma, chronic respiratory disease and heart failure. If symptoms continue to be bothersome, seek medical attention.
• Use common sense regarding outdoor physical activity; if your breathing becomes difficult or uncomfortable, stop or reduce the activity.
• People with heart or respiratory conditions (including COVID-19) should watch for any change in symptoms that may be due to poor air quality exposure. If any symptoms are noted, affected individuals should take steps to reduce their exposure to poor air quality. If symptoms continue to be bothersome, seek medical attention.
• Keep windows and doors closed, and reduce indoor sources of pollution such as smoking, vacuuming and use of wood stoves. When indoors, ensure physical distancing guidelines for COVID-19 are observed.
• Run an air cleaner. Some room air cleaners, such as HEPA filters, can help reduce indoor concentrations of particulate matter provided the filters are the right size for your home and are kept clean.
• Buildings which have large indoor volumes of filtered outside air may provide temporary relief for those with respiratory and cardiac issues.
• Maintaining good overall health is a good way to reduce health risks resulting from shortterm exposure to air pollution.
The current dusty conditions are caused by road traffic stirring up winter traction materials that have accumulated on roadways over the past winter.