SOCASTEE, S.C. (WBTW) — Parts of South Carolina are under air quality alert due to wildfires in Canada, and News13’s Maya Lockett spoke with a local doctor about who is impacted the most and tips to stay healthy.
“The air quality has been poor over the last couple of days and is supposed to continue to be poor,” said Dr. Thad Golden with Grand Strand Medical Center.
The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control is warning people in South Carolina of the risk for health effects related to smoke from wildfires burning across parts of Eastern and Western Canada.
Golden said people should limit their activity outside.
“This is very uncommon for us,” he said.
DHEC issued an air quality alert for 31 counties, which includes most of the Pee Dee, upstate and midland regions of South Carolina. Parts of the state saw haze beginning on Monday and will experience some level of smoke in the air until the weather flow changes.
“There’s different kinds of air pollution that we worry about from a respiratory standpoint, we worry about ground level ozone and carbon monoxide. But in this case, it’s particulates,” Golden said.
“And what I mean by that is there’s very, very fine particles in the air, particularly ones that are less than 2.5 microns. And that’s an important number, because those are ones that easily are inhaled and get down to the airspace itself can cause a lot of medical problems, particularly with the lungs.”
Golden said it can be extremely harmful to those with allergies, asthma, COPD and heart disease.
“It’s just harder to breathe, and so people can get in trouble pretty quickly,” he said. “Some people, if they have medication, may have to step up their use of rescue inhalers. But probably the best idea is to just avoid being outdoors if you can for these time periods.”
Golden also said if you must be outside to consider wearing a face mask. And if you are indoors, using an air conditioner can filter the smoke out.