June 29, 2023

EPIC Alert
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Visit CDC Emergency Preparedness & Response for more information.  

Smoke covering sky and tree line with overlay that reads: Protect Yourself from Wildfire Smoke

Wildfire smoke can travel long distances from the fire and irritate your eyes, nose, throat, and lungs. It can make it hard to breathe and make you cough or wheeze. People with certain health conditions need to be especially careful about breathing wildfire smoke. People with asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), diabetes, and heart disease, as well as children and pregnant people should take extra precautions when wildfire smoke is a threat in their area. Stay safe when exposed to wildfire smoke and always follow instructions given by local emergency management officials.

Keep Smoke Outside and Reduce Indoor Smoke Exposure 

  • Choose a room you can close off from outside air. Keep the air in this room clean by filtering the air. If you use a do-it-yourself box fan filtration unit, never leave it unattended.
  • Avoid using candles, gas, propane, wood-burning stoves, fireplaces, or aerosol sprays. Don’t fry or broil meat, smoke tobacco products, or vacuum.
  • If you have a central air conditioning system, use high efficiency filters to capture fine particles from smoke. If your system has a fresh air intake, set the system to recirculate mode or close the outdoor intake damper.

If You Must Go Outdoors 

  • Stay aware of the current air quality conditions in your area. Frequently monitor air quality conditions in your area by visiting your state health department’s air quality website or the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) U.S. Fire and Smoke Map. Listen to the Emergency Alert System (EAS) for emergency alerts.
  • Limit your time outdoors. Outdoor work and activities should be rescheduled to a time when air quality improves. If you must work outdoors, only perform activities that are essential and, if possible, take frequent breaks indoors where the air is clean.
  • Wear a respirator IF recommended. A respirator is a high-quality mask that fits tightly to your face to filter smoke out. If you have heart or lung disease or other medical issues, ask your doctor if it is safe for you to wear a respirator. NIOSH Approved respirators do not come in sizes that fit very young children. However, children ages 2 years and older can wear respirators. Follow user instructions for the respirator.
  • Get medical help if you need it, especially if you have asthma, COPD, heart disease, or are pregnant.

Additional Resources

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Email: EPIC@cdc.gov

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
1600 Clifton Rd
Atlanta, GA 30329 

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800-CDC-INFO (800-232-4636) TTY: 888-232-6348