Public health units mark Clean Air Day by stressing health effects of smoke plumes 

By Rosalind Russell – Both the Algoma and Sudbury branches of public health marked Clean Air Day yesterday by stressing anyone having respiratory problems to contact 911 or go to emergency or contact their local health provider. 

According to the releases, Environment and Climate Change Canada has issued an air quality statement throughout Northern Ontario.  

Health officials say smoke plumes from local forest fires as well as forest fires over Quebec are creating deteriorated air quality and this smoke is a mix of gases, fine particles, and plant materials, which can impact health at very low levels.  

They add those with compromised health conditions can experience more severe short-term as well as long-term chronic symptoms from exposure. 

Recommendations include staying indoors, close windows and wear a mask while outside. 

Health officials say milder and more common symptoms of wildfire smoke exposure include mild cough, headache, and eye, nose, and throat irritation. These symptoms can typically be managed without medical intervention. 

More serious symptoms include dizziness, chest pains, irregular heartbeat, severe cough, shortness of breath, wheezing, and asthma attacks. 

Check-in on neighbours, loved ones, and people who are in your care who may be more vulnerable to wildfire smoke. Advise them how to protect themselves and seek help if needed. 

If you are concerned about your risk or symptoms, call Telehealth at 1.866.797.0000 for medical advice or visit a health care provider. In emergencies, dial 911. 

If you are at-risk or experiencing symptoms: 

  • Stop, reduce, or reschedule strenuous outdoor activities. 
  • Drink plenty of water to help your body cope. 
  • Visit places with cleaner, filtered air, such as libraries or shopping malls. 
  • If the temperature is comfortable, keep windows closed indoors and in vehicles. Use the recirculation setting on air-conditioners and HVAC systems to prevent smoke from entering. 
  • Take care of your mental health during smoke events. 
  • Follow your health care provider’s advice about managing your condition. 

For more information, call Public Health Sudbury & Districts at 705.522.9200, ext. 464 (toll-free 1.866.522.9200) to speak to a public health inspector, visit, or visit the Environment and Climate Change Canada website at


Photo: If you can smell it, you are likely breathing in particulates and contaminants from the wildfire smoke plumes in the area. Wear a mask, close windows and stay indoors if you have a chronic respiratory condition. Check in with your emergency if breathing becomes strenous. Photo Casey Horner –

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