Air quality statement issued in southern Alberta


Residents in many southern Alberta communities are urged to take precautions after Environment Canada issued a special air quality advisory on Saturday.

Environment Canada called a special air quality statement for Lethbridge, Medicine Hat, Cardston, Fort Macleod, Magrath, Crowsnest Pass and surrounding areas.

Officials say smoke from wildfires burning in the U.S. is expected to blow into the region, leading to poor air quality and reduced visibility in areas.

Environment Canada warns those with health problems could also be affected by the air quality issues.

“Individuals may experience symptoms such as increased coughing, throat irritation, headaches or shortness of breath. Children, seniors, and those with cardiovascular or lung disease, such as asthma, are especially at risk.

“People with lung diseases, such as asthma and COPD, can be particularly sensitive to air pollution. They will generally experience more serious health effects at lower levels. Pollution can aggravate their diseases, leading to increased medication use, doctor and emergency room visits, and hospital visits.”

The air quality is expected to improve in the evening, when the wind changes direction.

According to Canada’s air quality health index at 1 p.m., current conditions in Lethbridge are rated at 4, while Medicine Hat is 6. Both are considered to be moderate risk.

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