Province issues health advisory on air quality

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Saskatchewan health officials are warning people to take precautions to protect themselves from health effects that may be caused by poor air quality in parts of the province. Air quality is expected to deteriorate over the next couple of days due to wildfires in northern Alberta, Saskatchewan and the Northwest Territories.

Swift Current began Friday with an air quality index score of 23, which remained in the good category. A ranking of 26 to 50 is considered fair. Index scores of 51 to 100 are considered poor.

"We advise people with asthma and other respiratory and heart conditions to consider remaining indoors to reduce their exposure to the outdoor air," Chief Medical Health Officer Dr. Moira McKinnon said in a press release on Friday. "People who are healthy should reduce or reschedule strenuous outdoors activities until the air quality improves."

Everyone is encouraged to monitor their health and adapt their activities as necessary, if conditions worsen. Residents should keep windows closed and people living in non-air conditioned homes are advised to visit a nearby mall or other air conditioned facility to cool down if the temperature in their homes rises.

If air quality becomes poorer, individuals may experience symptoms such as increased coughing, throat irritation, headaches or shortness of breath. Those who are experiencing difficulties should monitor their symptoms and seek medical attention if symptoms worsen.

The Saskatchewan Ministry of Environment is monitoring the air quality throughout the province. Up to date air quality conditions in areas of Saskatchewan can be accessed at www.environment.gov.sk.ca/airqualityindex.

For more information on air quality and health effects visit HealthLine Online at www.healthlineonline.ca. For advice on symptoms and precautions people can call the HealthLine at 1-877-800-0002.

Organizations: Saskatchewan Ministry of Environment

Geographic location: Saskatchewan, Northern Alberta

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