INDIANAPOLIS — The Indiana Department of Environmental Management issued an Air Quality Action day for Thursday and Friday. It includes all 92 counties throughout the state as smoke from the Canadian wildfires continues to impact the area.
“The hardest part is just being out in the air,” said Tina Mitchell, an Indianapolis resident.
Residents like Mitchell are noticing the impact of the smoke from the Canadian wildfires in the Circle City.
“Although I have allergies, I still smell it,” she said. “It is like someone is burning something. You can smell it in the air. You can also feel it. It just feels thick.”
Right now, the EPA says there are high levels of fine particulate matter outside. PM2.5 is an air pollutant causing short-term health effects.
For the most part, Indianapolis is staying in the third category, which is Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups.
“I think it’s just basically that irritant. As you breathe it in in, it’s a harsh irritant that goes in and affects the airways pretty quickly,” said Roger Jundos, the respiratory care manager at Ascension St. Vincent Peyton Manning Children’s Hospital.
The people most impacted are children, the elderly and those with underlying health conditions, including asthma and allergies.
“I have two children that have severe allergies, and I have noticed their noses are running with stuffy-sounding voices when they are speaking,” said Carla Maul, an Indianapolis resident.
Maul’s daughter, Logyn, agrees. She said, “I am a little stuffy. There are definitely some allergy symptoms, and you can feel it in your nasal cavity.”
Health experts said there are several important things to remember when air quality reaches unhealthy levels. They said it’s important to know your limitations, not to push yourself physically and to take breaks from the outdoors when you can.
“As soon as you feel like you hit your limitations, [you need] to take yourself out of the activity, rest, and go home,” Jundos said.
With this in mind, some residents said they are going to spend less time outdoors over the next few days.
“We will probably do a lot more of the indoor things, like watch movies and things like that, because of the kids with allergies,” Maul said.
“We are still trying to be outside when we can, and if I notice anything with that, I will obviously take [my children] back inside,” said Sarah Caudill, another Indianapolis resident.
To see current air quality levels, click here.