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Health Officials Advise Santa Monica Residents, Workers on Coping with Impact of Fires


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December 7, 2017 -- Take special care of yourself, loved ones and neighbors, as air filled with an unhealthy mix of smoke and ash from fires raging near Santa Monica take their toll, authorities warned Wednesday.

The L.A. County Department of Public Health advised residents and workers in the beach city to follow several steps to help cope with the impact of the poor air quality.

The department said outdoor and physical activity should be reduced, especially by children, women who are pregnant, and those with asthma and other respiratory diseases.

The also advised taking the following measures:

* Try to keep indoor air as clean as possible by keeping windows and doors closed. Air conditioners that re-circulate air within the home can help filter out harmful particles.

* Avoid using air conditioning units that only draw in air from the outside or that do not have a re-circulating option. Residents should check the filters on their air conditioners and replace them regularly. Indoor air filtration devices with HEPA filters can further reduce the level of particles that circulate indoors.

* Consider going to an air-conditioned public place, such as a library or shopping center, to stay cool and to protect yourself from harmful air.

* Do not use fireplaces (either wood burning or gas), candles, and vacuums. Use damp cloths to clean dusty indoor surfaces. Do not smoke.

Health officials also said anyone with symptoms of lung or heart disease that may be related to smoke exposure should contact a doctor immediately or go to an urgent care center.

Symptoms include severe coughing, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, wheezing, chest tightness or pain, palpitations, nausea or unusual fatigue or lightheadedness.

* Avoid leaving your pets outdoors, particularly at night. Pets should be brought into an indoor location, such as an enclosed garage or a house.

Constance Farrell, the City of Santa Monica's public information officer, said outdoor programs had been suspended due to smoke. Outdoor facilities and fields also were closed, she said.


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