With wildfire smoke blanketing the area, the Health Unit is telling people what they need to do to protect themselves.

The Unit says people who are at the greatest risk are seniors, pregnant women and infants, but a lot of other groups are at risk too. Outdoor workers, those involved with strenuous outdoor exercise, or those with existing illnesses or chronic health conditions are at risk as well.

The Health Unit says the best way to protect your health is to limit your exposure to smoke. Closing doors and windows, using good air filters in ventilation units or having a certified HEPA air purifier can help limit exposure. For those with HVAC systems, recirculation settings can keep smoke from entering your home. If you are unable to do these things, community centres, libraries and shopping malls often have cleaner filtered air. When using these public spaces, the Health Unit urges people to follow COVID-19 guidelines.

The Unit is also urging people to be aware of the symptoms of smoke exposure. Mild symptoms include headaches, a mild cough, runny nose and irritation of the eyes, nose, and throat. Serious symptoms include dizziness, chest pains, a more severe cough and shortness of breath, wheezing and heart palpitations. Serious smoke inhalation can also cause asthma attacks. If these symptoms appear, residents are urged to seek medical attention.

Conditions are expected to improve sometime on Tuesday.