The Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department (LLCHD) today issued a Health Advisory for sensitive populations because of smoke from agricultural burning. Officials said the levels of smoke in the air are unhealthy for those with asthma, lung disease, other respiratory conditions or heart disease as well as older adults and children. LLCHD advises those at risk to stay indoors and avoid strenuous physical activity.
Chris Schroeder, Air Quality Supervisor with LLCHD, said southerly winds and the extensive burning in the Midwest, especially the Flint Hills area of Kansas, will likely expose people in Lincoln and all of Southeast Nebraska to unhealthy levels of smoke in the air.
"The forecast indicates that our community is likely to be impacted for several days," Schroeder said. "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."
Residents are advised to keep windows and doors closed and use the "re-circulate" setting when using a vehicle air conditioner. Those who experience difficulty breathing, coughing, tightness in the chest or angina should contact a medical provider.
The LLCHD monitors air quality 24 hours a day, and the Air Quality Index (AQI) at lincoln.ne.gov (keyword: air) is updated daily. The AQI is expected to be "orange," meaning the air quality is unhealthy for sensitive individuals.
For more information, visit health.lincoln.ne.gov.