Officials: curtail sports and outdoor activities |

Officials: curtail sports and outdoor activities

Health and air officials urged Nevada County residents Friday to curtail or omit outside activities as unhealthy wildfire smoke continues to invade Sierra residents and their lungs.

The formal health alert comes as the smoky conditions reach the three-week mark, with no relief expected anytime soon.

“Despite no significant increases in emergency room visits, air quality is poor and people should curtail outside activities,” said County Public Health Officer Dr. Joe Iser in the alert.

Iser also urged young people to minimize their outdoor activities, including organized sports practices.

“I expected to see more ER admissions, but I think people with respiratory problems are doing a good job of staying indoors and taking care of themselves,” he said.

At the Northern Sierra Air Quality Management District in Grass Valley, Joe Fish issued another air quality warning good through Monday.

“We have all had a very prolonged exposure to some very high levels of smoke pollution, so there may be some residual respiratory effects that might surface as a result of high levels of exertion,” Fish said.

The National Weather Service in Sacramento predicted temperatures in the 90s with widespread haze or patchy smoke for western Nevada County through next Wednesday.

The combined dangers of heat in the 90s and the air in Nevada County could cause a number of maladies, Iser said. People should seek medical aid if they experience heat and smoke-related illnesses, which includes nausea, headache, vomiting, unusual fatigue or breathing problems, Iser said.

The recurring health warning of the past few weeks was reissued, because people should not be lulled into a false sense of security, Iser said.

“Just because it continues, it doesn’t make it any better,” Iser said of the smoke and heat.

The alert was also sent to area schools and construction firms to protect summer school students and workers, Iser said.

“Outdoor workers should minimize their exposure to the outdoor air,” he said.

The poor air quality could affect a large number of county residents with asthma, according to statistics in a recent California Department of Health Services report. Fifty percent of the residents here take medication for asthma and almost one-third of teens here have the breathing malady.

The reasons for that aren’t exactly clear, but Iser said the county’s propensity for trapping Sacramento Valley and Bay Area pollution and California’s high number of allergens could explain some of it.

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