Bay Area doctor suggests limiting time outside due to poor air quality

Bay Area

(KRON) – A Bay Area doctor is suggesting that we all avoid spending time outdoors in the bad air, regardless of age or health condition.

From Pleasant Hill, Mount Diablo is unrecognizable. Visibility marred by a persistent blanket of smoke. 

Ash from wildfires was also spotted on cars in Martinez.

“If you’re smelling the smoke, then you’re getting a pretty severe exposure,” Dr. Thomas Dailey said. 

Dr. Thomas Dailey is a pulmonary and critical medicine care specialist for Kaiser Permanente in the Bay Area and says people are already suffering from poor air quality.

“Asthma admissions in heart attacks and exacerbations of emphysema and COPD,” Dr. Dailey said. 

If you can breathe and you are outdoors, then Dr. Dailey says your body can be negatively impacted by the smoke but adds kids whose lungs are still developing and especially elderly adults with pre-existing respiratory issues should remain inside, with doors and windows sealed.

“There is no safe amount of particulate matter. There is no safe exposure to poor air quality. There is no safe exposure to wildfire smoke,” Dr. Dailey said. 

In the past, Dr. Dailey has served three terms as chair of the hearing board of the Bay Area Air Quality Management District.

He says exercising in these conditions is a bad idea.

“I see pictures of people jogging, wearing an N95 mask. They’re not understanding the picture. That is not a healthy thing to do. Even an N95 mask, a respirator mask, they call it N95 because it screens out 95-percent of the particulate matter that’s 2.5 microns or smaller. Well, that means five percent is getting through, and especially if you’re jogging and breathing fast, you’re going to be absorbing that,” Dr. Dailey said. 

Encourage your kids to spend their snack and lunch breaks indoors, until the smoke clears — The same goes for everyone else.

Dr. Dailey says particulate matter can get into your bloodstream and cause heart attacks or strokes whether you have preexisting health conditions or not.

With the ash and toxic particulates being spewed into the air, the air quality advisory warning is being extended in the Bay Area until Friday.

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