A smoky sky advisory has been issued by the Ministry of Environment. (Photo by Leanne Harel)

Smokey skies across Vancouver Island expected to last until Wednesday

The province of B.C. has issued a special bulletin for all of Vancouver Island

Lingering smoke from local wildfires have contributed to the province of British Columbia issuing a smoky skies bulletin for all of Vancouver Island.

If not already noticeable, wildfire smoke is expected to impact your area over the next 24-48 hours from Victoria to Port Hardy, Nanaimo to Tofino.

During a wildfire, smoke conditions can quickly change over short distances and can vary considerably hour-by-hour.

People with pre-existing health conditions, the elderly, infants and children are more likely to experience health effects from smoke exposure.

READ MORE: Feds send help to B.C. to battle wildfires

READ MORE: Lightning sparks more than 30 fires on Vancouver Island

Here are some helpful tips:

Follow your common sense

  • Stop or reduce your activity level if breathing becomes difficult or you feel unwell.
  • Stay cool and drink plenty of fluids.
  • Carry any rescue medications with you at all times.
  • Make sure that children and others who cannot care for themselves follow the
  • same advice.

Monitor your symptoms

  • Different people have different responses to smoke. Mild irritation and discomfort are common, and usually disappear when the smoke clears.
  • People with asthma or other chronic illness should activate the personal care plans they have designed with their family physicians.
  • If you are unsure whether you need medical care, call HealthLink BC at 8-1-1.
  • If you are experiencing difficulty in breathing, chest pain or discomfort, or a severe cough, contact your health care provider, walk-in clinic, or emergency department.
  • If you are having a medical emergency, call 9-1-1.

Tips to reduce your exposure

  • Smoke levels may be lower indoors but will still be elevated, so stay aware of your symptoms even when you are indoors.
  • Running a commercially available HEPA (high efficiency particulate air) filter can improve indoor air quality in the room where the device is located.
  • If you have a forced air heating/cooling system in your home, it may help to change the filter and set the fan to run continuously.
  • Reduce indoor air pollution sources such as smoking, burning incense, and frying foods.
  • Consider going to a library, community center, or shopping mall with cooler filtered air to get some relief from the smoke.
  • If travelling in a car with air conditioning, keep the windows up and the ventilation set to recirculate.
  • If you are very sensitive to smoke, consider moving to another location with cleaner air, but be aware that conditions can change rapidly.
  • Maintaining good overall health is a good way to prevent health effects resulting from short-term exposure to air pollution.

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