Families try to beat the heat, deal with unhealthy air pollution

PUYALLUP, Wash. – Air quality was a contradiction in terms across Washington on Tuesday.

Wildfires burning in British Columbia are pushing smoke and fine particles into our region, making the air unhealthy to breathe for many.

The state Department of Ecology says pollution at these levels aren’t safe for anyone – but Q13 News found all kinds of people braving the smoke while trying to stay cool.

“I was wondering if I had a summertime cold,” said Puyallup mom Jesse Weber. “But I’m thinking maybe it’s not a cold. The air quality is pretty poor right now.”

Health officials across the region are warning everyone to stay indoors if possible and keep their doors and windows closed to minimize the health effects of our smoky air.

It’s not just people sensitive to the pollution. Right now almost everyone could be dealing with a cough, headaches – the smoke can even cause irregular heartbeats and chest pain.

“Unfortunately, when we have wildfire smoke we have the hottest temps,” said Erik Saganic with the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency. “So it’s hard to find places to keep the windows and doors closed.”

While a spray park can help your family beat the heat – it’s not helping keep fine particles out of your airways. Some families try to find a middle ground – and limit their time outside in the smoke.

“Play in the morning and then take a break in the afternoon,” said Weber. “Come down, cool off in the spray park and do what we can to limit exposure.”

According to the Washington State Department of Health, people who are at greater risk for health impacts are those who have asthma, COPD, diabetes and other lung or heart diseases. Stroke survivors and kids are under 18 are urged to limit their time outdoors when pollution is this bad.