Smog warning: Get your N95 masks out again

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By Bernard Rizk

Media Relations Officer, External relations, uOttawa

Academic experts available to provide context or comment on the following topic:

Smog warning: Get your N95 masks out again

Shawn Aaron  (English only)

Full Professor, Department of Medicine, Faculty of Medicine

[email protected]
[email protected]

Dr. Aaron can give advice on how to prevent damage to the lungs during poor air quality days.

“Ideally on days like today, you should stay inside with the windows closed and the air conditioning on. If you have HEPA filters in your house, turn them on. Avoid exercising or heavy work outdoors on poor air quality days. If you must work outdoors wear an N95 mask. Babies, young children, the elderly and people with chronic lung or heart conditions are the most vulnerable. If you are outside and you develop cough, chest tightness, wheeze or shortness of breath go indoors to someplace with fresh, filtered air.”

Jules Blais (English and French)

Full Professor, Department of Biology, Institute of the Environment, Faculty of Science

[email protected]

Dr. Blais’ work focuses on identifying the consequences of environmental pollutants on natural systems. In particular, he is determining how pollutants are transported and concentrated by natural phenomena to reach elevated exposures in target organisms, including humans.

"The combination of high temperatures and dry conditions that we are experiencing are well known to make fires more severe and more frequent. This is a product of climate change, the effects of which are becoming more significant."

Éric Lavigne (English and French)

Adjunct Professor, School of Epidemiology & Public Health, Faculty of Medicine, and Part-time Professor, Interdisciplinary School of Health Sciences.

[email protected]

Professor Lavigne was among the authors on an international study that found Canadians have the highest relative risk of respiratory mortality resulting from wildfire pollution. He can discuss:

  • The risks and consequences of smoke from hundreds of wildfires burning across Canada for people exposed to them and beyond.
  • The impact of wildfires on health, including mental health.
  • Individual prevention measures during exposure to smoke.

"The impact is real, especially at the level of health and chronic diseases such as asthma, chronic bronchitis, on those who have a history of heart problems. Even in good health, we can be affected."