Wildfire Smoke and Asthma

With the increase in the frequency and severity of wildfires in California and other states, health care providers and public health professionals may want more information on how they can help their patients and communities, particularly those with asthma and other respiratory conditions. During a webinar hosted by the American Lung Association on “Protecting Lung Health During the Wildfire Season,” Dr. Wayne Cascio from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency shared a number of great resources.

  • Particle Pollution and Your Patients’ Health: An Evidence-based Training for Health Care Professionals – This free, evidence-based course describes the biological mechanisms responsible for cardiovascular and respiratory health effects associated with particle pollution exposure, and provides educational tools to help patients understand how particle pollution exposure can affect their health.
  • Smoke Ready Toolbox for Wildfires – Public health officials can use the resources in this toolbox to help educate the public about the risks of smoke exposure and actions people can take to protect their health.
  • Air Quality Index – Health professionals and community residents may already be familiar with this website, which lists the Air Quality Index (AQI) level (from good to hazardous) for communities across the country. The AQI now has a “Fires: Current Conditions” page, which can be accessed in top right corner of the home page.
  • Wildfire Smoke: A Guide for Public Health Professionals – This guide (published in 2016) is currently undergoing revisions. The EPA anticipates releasing the updated guide this fall. In the meantime, as factsheets become available, they will be posted here.
  • Protecting Children from Wildfire Smoke and Ash – This is a factsheet that will be part of the Guide described above. We’re noting it here because it may be particularly relevant to Digest subscribers. The factsheet was jointly developed by the EPA, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the Pediatric Environmental Health Specialty Units.