Due to high levels of smoke from agricultural burning in the Midwest, the Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department (LLCHD) today issued a Health Advisory with concerns that the poor air quality will continue this weekend. The levels of smoke in the air this morning impacts the health of all people, but especially those with asthma, lung disease, other respiratory conditions or heart disease. To avoid smoke exposure, people should stay indoors and avoid strenuous physical activity.
"Winds from the south and the extensive burning in the Midwest, especially the Flint Hills area of Kansas, have exposed people in Lincoln and all of Southeast Nebraska to unhealthy levels of smoke in the air," said Scott Holmes, Manager of the Environmental Health Division with LLCHD. "And, given the wind forecast for today and tomorrow, Lincoln will likely be impacted again this weekend. Smoke is made up of tiny particles and gases. When these are breathed into the lungs, they can cause asthma attacks, worsen chronic bronchitis and emphysema, and cause angina in some people with heart disease. When the Air Quality Index is in the red, like it was this morning for several hours, the air quality was unhealthy for everyone."
People are advised to keep windows and doors closed. In the car, set the air conditioner on "re-circulate." Those who experience difficulty breathing, coughing, tightness in the chest or angina should contact a doctor.
The LLCHD monitors air quality 24 hours a day. The Air Quality Index for Lincoln is updated daily and can be found at lincoln.ne.gov (keyword: air). People are encouraged to check the AQI the next few days before doing any strenuous activities outside.