Community Blog

Eight Tips to Keep Seniors Safe from Wildfire Smoke

By Debbie Humphrey

It’s not enough that we’ve suffered allergy attacks, continuous nasal congestion, and wiped weary, watery eyes over our lovely springtime season in Florida.

However, Mother Nature has dealt a severe blow of smoke down our beautiful coast, negatively affecting the young and old and their abilities to breathe. As the wildfires continue to spread, residents are at risk of suffering various levels of respiratory distress, which is especially critical for seniors and those coping with acute or chronic respiratory conditions. 

Wildfires and smoke are serious concerns for seniors, so it is vital we look out for our family members, friends and neighbors to make sure they are not in the line of fire; they have everything they need in case of an emergency, including a place away from fire and smoke threats; and above all, they are not alone in a danger zone.

As the winds carry the smoke from the Pasco and North Pinellas fires southward along the coast, I feel compelled to review eight tips to keep seniors safe from smoke:

1. Limit exposure to smoke and dust as much as possible
2. Pay attention to air quality alerts and warnings from local media
3. Keep windows and doors closed
4. Use the recycle or re-circulate settings on air conditioners in homes and cars
5. If air conditioning is not available and conditions are too hot with closed windows, go somewhere else!
6. Do not burn candles, fireplaces, or gas stoves, especially when smoke is more dense
7. Refrain from vacuuming, which circulates dust particles
8. If you suffer from asthma or other respiratory conditions, follow your healthcare provider’s advice and seek medical care if symptoms become worse

I do not remember fires in recent years affecting our area as much as they are right now. Perhaps this is time for an important reminder that we all take time to review safety precautions with seniors we know and love, so we can all breathe easier.

If you know a senior who is alone around a fire zone and they have respiratory conditions like asthma, emphysema, or COPD, among others; or perhaps they endure other physical limitations, consider providing the assistance of a compassionate caregiver to enhance their level of security, and like our name implies, help them at home!

Home Helpers® proudly serves male and female seniors in Clearwater, Dunedin, Palm Harbor, Safety Harbor, Tarpon Springs, Holiday, New Port Richey, Trinity, Port Richey, Hudson and surrounding areas. Contact us today to learn more about the many services offered through Home Helpers®. We are Making Life Easier℠. 727-972-2539

Source: Bay News 9