Alberta wildfires: Bothered by smoke? An N95 mask is best, experts suggest

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Alberta wildfires: Smoke triggers air quality warnings across province
With dozens of wildfires burning across Alberta, a shift in the wind has pushed forest fire smoke throughout the province. Heather Yourex-West reports on the worsening air quality, how long the smoke could stick around, and the message to Albertans – May 16, 2023

As air quality due to wildfire smoke remains poor in parts of Western Canada, health experts are advising people to stay inside as much as possible.

But they say if you need to be outside, wear a mask.

Calgary respirologist Dr. Alex Chee says N95 masks do the best job of filtering out smoke particles.

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But if people only have surgical masks, he says that’s better than nothing.

Chee says wildfire smoke can cause both lung and heart problems.

He says children and vulnerable adults should stay inside until there’s no longer a smell of smoke in the air.

There are things people can use to reduce the smoke’s effect, says Dr. Anne Hicks, a pediatric respirologist and assistant professor at the University of Alberta.

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“We’re a bit fortunate. Because of the pandemic, a lot of people have added HEPA filtration or MERV filtration to their businesses, which means we have more safe places to be indoors.

“An N95 or similar quality mask will filter out a lot of the larger air particles.”

With files from Global News

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