Are you ready for the winter?

Are you ready for the winter?

Winter is just around the corner. With the first few snowflakes that landed this morning and melting as it hit the ground we start thinking about the last minute fixes and things we needed to get done before the winter hits. Are you and your home ready for the cold weather? Have you done any upgrades during the summer that will allow your home to hold in more heat? Upgraded from a chimney vented furnace to an energy efficient? These type of upgrades are great however, they may cause higher humidity and in turn condensation at any cold spots such as where the drywall meets the ceiling. Getting the exterior of the home ready for the cold winds, snow and ice is critical for keeping Old Man Winter out and keeping it warm and toasty inside.

Windows and Doors

  • Check and replace if necessary all the weatherstripping around windows and doorframes for leaks to prevent heat loss, condensation and frost build up.
  • Examine wooden window frames for signs of rot or decay. Repair or replace framing to maintain structural integrity. If you believe it is mold infested and has wicked into your walls contact a professional for a mold inspection – Thermal Imaging  may be necessary and the best time to detect heat loss in your home is when it is cold outside.
  • Check for drafts around windows and doors. Caulk inside and out, where necessary, to keep heat from escaping.
  • Inspect windows for cracks, broken glass, or gaps. Repair or replace, if needed.

 

Lawn, Garden, and Deck

  • Trim overgrown branches back from the house and electrical wires to prevent iced-over or wind-swept branches from causing property damage or a power problem. In some cases it could be the cities responsibility to do this and all you usually have to do is report it. .
  • Ensure rain or snow drains away from the house to avoid foundation problems. The dirt grade — around the exterior of your home — should slope away from the house. Add clay and or extra dirt to lower areas, as necessary.
  • Clean and dry patio furniture. Cover with a heavy tarp or store inside a shed or garage to protect it from water damage or rusting.
  • Clean soil from planters. Bring pots made of clay or other fragile materials indoors. Because terra cotta pots can swell and crack, lay them on their sides in a wood carton or better yet a plastic tote.
  • Remove any attached hoses and store them away for the winter to prevent cracks, preserve their shapes, and prolong their life. Wrap outside faucets with covers to prevent water damage.
  • Shut off exterior faucets. Drain water from outdoor pipes, valves, and sprinkler heads to protect against pipe bursts. Have your sprinklers professionally blown out.
  • Inspect decks for splintering, decay, or insect damage and treat, if needed, to prevent further deterioration over the winter.
  • Clean leaves, dirt, and pine needles between the boards of wooden decks to thwart mold and mildew growth.
  • Inspect outdoor lighting around the property. Good illumination will help minimize the chance of accidents on icy walkways at night.
  • Check handrails on exterior stairs to make sure they’re well secured.

 

Tools and Machinery

  • Bring all your seasonal tools inside and spray them with a coating of lightweight oil to prevent rust. Pam cooking oils work great for this.
  • Move your snow blower and shovels to the front of the garage or shed for easy access.
  • Prepare the snow blower for the first snowfall by changing the oil and replacing the spark plug.
  • Sharpen ice chopper and inspect snow shovels to make sure they’re ready for another season of work. There is nothing worse then finding out your shovel is broken when you need it most!
  • Make sure you have an ample supply of ice melt or sand on hand for steps, walkways, and the driveway. If you rent – make sure your landlord is okay with you using salt on your walkways and always make sure to keep the salt off the grass to keep the lawn nice and green in the spring.

 

Heating, Ventilating, and Air Conditioning

  • Inspect the firebox and flue system to ensure that they’re clean of any soot or creosote and that there aren’t any cracks or voids that could cause a fire hazard.
  • Clean or replace the air filter in your furnace for maximum efficiency and improved indoor air quality. The filter should be replaced every month for best efficiency.
  • Clean any humidifiers and replace the evaporator pad.
  • Bleed valves on any hot-water radiators to increase heating efficiency by releasing air that may be trapped inside.
  • Check that smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors are in working order. You should replace the batteries regularly just to be safe!
  • Install foam-insulating sheets behind outlets and switch plates on exterior walls to reduce outside airflow.
  • Flush a hot water heater tank to remove sediment, and check the pressure relief valve to make sure it’s in proper working order.
  • Examine exposed ducts in the attic, basement, and crawl spaces, and use a sealant such as spray foam to plug up any leaks.
  • Check and make sure the insulation in the attic is not being compromised by mice, bats or other rodents. This is a lot more common then you think!

 

Gutters, Roof, and Drains

  • Check for missing, damaged or warped shingles and replace, as necessary before you get stuck with a leak.
  • Check for deteriorated flashing at the chimney, walls, and skylights and around vent pipes. Seal joints where water could penetrate, using roofing cement and a caulking gun.
  • Rake up leaves and debris from the yard and pool storm drains to prevent blockages.
  • Check all vents and openings and make sure they are covered to prevent insects, birds, and rodents from getting inside to nest in a warm place.

 

For a mold inspection to ensure the air quality of your home is safe call us today! Peace of mind is just a phone call away! 1-888-909-6653 a friendly knowledgeable representative is always available for information and advise.

800th Blog – Our all time reader favourites.

800th Blog – Our all time reader favourites.

800th blog

got mold?™ takes pride in educating people with the information they need about mold and asbestos related diseases and issues happening around the world. When the company started we believed that knowledge is power and don’t intend to put fear into our readers but rather, give them the education they need to know before renovations, when buying a home and what to look for even if you aren’t a home owner and possibly a renter. This is why we have so much information available to our readers on our website so that they can read up on certain things and make educated decisions and choices before the proceed to do DIY projects at home and potentially cause a health concern.

So, for our 800th blog we would like to share with you our top 100 blogs and pages viewed online. Thank you so much for all your reading. And, hope we managed to help educate you or a family member or friend. Remember to share – you never know who you may help!

20 Interesting Facts About Mold! 13,397
Interview With a Toxic Mold Survivor: Gina Lopez 12,709
What Are The Most Common Types and Varieties of Mold? 11,491
What is Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome? 11,389
What Should I Do If I Have Mold In My Apartment? 10,809
Contact 7,382
If Santa brought you a Keurig please have caution. 7,147
A History of Mold Illness: The Kelsey Best Story 6,550
The Mummy’s Curse and Mold 6,441
Rashes Caused By Mold 6,351
Really, How Much Should Mold Remediation Cost? 5,469
Blog 5,420
Regulations & Guidelines: Indoor Air Quality & Mould 4,204
Thinking of Buying A Home, Look For These Moldy Clues 4,136
Top 3 Reasons To Have a Mold Inspection Before Buying a Home 4,026
Why Do Ice Dams Cause Mold? 3,901
Don’t Spray Mold! 3,721
Interview With a Toxic Mold Survivor: Raffaella Tassone 3,674
Asbestos Testing, Sampling, Removal & Abatement 3,292
Mold Will Eat Almost Anything But a Happy Meal! 3,100
Mold and Miscarriage, Is There a Link? 2,962
Core Services 2,816
10 Interesting Facts About Asbestos in the USA [Infographic] 2,562
Mold on the farms – Farmers Lungs and Grain bin mold removal 2,245
Does Mold Cause Multiple Sclerosis? 2,206
Top 5 Reasons Mold Is Scary! 2,190
Mold Inspection 2,173
New Does Not Mean Safe! Buyer Beware! 1,983
Air Sampling 1,925
Mold Do’s & Don’ts 1,914
Killing Mold Is Not The Answer 1,895
Does Mold Make Animals Sick? 1,884
Our 8 Step Process 1,864
Services 1,809
Sewer Backups Part 1: Causes and Prevention 1,717
Why Restoration Professionals Should Avoid Using Bleach 1,707
Who Knew this Vitamin Could Prevent Mold Allergies? 1,637
Compare Apples to Apples: 10 Questions You Should Ask Your Mold Remediation Professional! 1,594
About Us 1,542
Do People Really Get Sick From a Little Mold in Their House? 1,541
Interview With a Toxic Mold Survivor: Elaine Kelly 1,530
Why Should I have an Indoor Air Quality Test? 1,480
Testimonials / Reviews 1,448
Health Effects of Mold 1,436
How To Prevent Mold in Your Basement! 1,435
Water Damage + Neglect = Mold & Potential Health Issues 1,340
Do You Know Where Your Water Main Valve Is Located? 1,328
If Mold Can Eat Wood, What Will It Do To Your Lungs? 1,328
#7993 (loading title) 1,317
10 Interesting Historical Facts About Asbestos [Infographic] 1,289
How Many People Die From Asbestos Each Year? 1,270
Stemonitis Fusca- a weird but amazing species of slime mold 1,235
Erin Brockovich Fights Toxic Mold 1,207
Really, How Toxic is Mold? 1,187
Mold in a garage? 1,161
Why Should I Be Concerned About Newly Formed Water Stains? 1,126
Why Should I Have a Mold Inspection? 1,113
Toxic Mold Survivor Update: Gina Lopez 1,088
Interview With a Toxic Mold Survivor: Dr. Janis Bell 1,082
Seven Tips To Detecting Mold 1,070
Can Mold Cause Parkinson’s Disease? 1,058
Who Does The Work? 1,056
Does Mold Cause Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)? 1,016
Actress Brittany Murphy & Husband May Have Died Because Of Mold 1,014
Brittany Murphy’s Mom — The HOUSE Killed My Daughter 1,008
Mold and Illness (40 Articles) 981
Almost All Sinus Infections are Misdiagnosed and Mistreated 977
Canadian Asbestos Regulations 957
Questions & Answers 931
Is Your Christmas Tree a Source of Mold? 919
Career Opportunities 909
Interview With a Toxic Mold Survivor: Karen Dean 898
Why Choose Got Mold?…Compare Apples to Apples…10 Questions To Ask! 897
Interview With a Toxic Mold Survivor: Beatrice Latherings 889
What is the Connection Between Mold, PMS, and Depression? 850
Three Key Reasons You Should Consider Thermal Imaging 835
What Causes Mold in an Attic? 833
Why Do Ice Dams Cause Mold Problems? 806
What Causes a Basement to Smell Bad? 802
Rocker Ted Nugent’s Home Completely Destroyed By Mold! 785
Act Now! Our Government is here to help. Deadline to file a claim for flooding via PDAP is Dec. 31st 782
Subscribe To Our Blog Updates! 780
Cancer Tumors Caused by Mold? 762
Doctor Talks About How Mold Makes People Sick 759
Five Most Common Indoor Mold Varieties 758
The Three Types of Molds 758
Renovating? Be Mindful of Asbestos and Mold 732
MOLD INDOORS: Killing it is Not Enough 727
Ten Health Risks of Mold 713
How to Deal With Household Mold [INFOGRAPHIC] 704
Why is a Shower Essential to Asbestos Abatement? 698
Mold Causes Asthma! 692
Health 684
Did Mold Kill Stacy Bowman? 676
Mold Made The Voice Star, Katrina Parker, Sick! 663
What is the Link Between Mold and Cystic Fibrosis? 650
Ozone Generators and Interior Mold Remediation: A Recipe for Disaster 639
Blindsided By Mold: A True Story About A Bathroom Renovation Gone Bad 631
How Do I Prevent Mold In My Basement After a Flood? 622
Celebrities Affected By Asbestos and Mold (12 Articles) 618

Where is the water coming from?

Where is the water coming from?

Mold is caused when moisture affects the walls and other surfaces in your home or office. To permanently get rid of mould you have to first find and fix the moisture source.

Water can enter a building in all sorts of strange and mysterious ways, and may result in hidden moisture in walls and ceilings.  Moisture, whether you can see it or not, can result in mould growth and this mould growth can affect the health of the people living or working in the building. You could start taking apart your rooms one by one, or you could call got mold? Disaster Recovery Services for more information on how we can help.

Using our thermal imaging equipment and moisture meters we can map the moisture in your walls, find the missing insulation in your ceiling and track that leaky underfloor pipe – quickly, efficiently and, most importantly, without creating holes in your walls and ceilings.  

If you are concerned about hidden moisture in walls and ceilings in your home or office, or have areas of mould growth that you can’t explain it may be time to take action and get the answers you need to prevent mold growth before it happens! 

Today’s energy-efficient homes are built tightly to seal out the cold weather in winter and keep in the air conditioning in summer. Because of this, it is possible that a new home can be severely damaged by lack of ventilation or by excess moisture.

It is important to remember that moisture damage caused by improper or inadequate use of your ventilation system, is not covered by the new home warranty.

What causes moisture damage?

Your home can be damaged if weather-related water is allowed to enter and remain in the structure. Water from leaking pipes or fixtures that is not immediately cleaned up, and indoor humidity levels that are not properly controlled, can have serious consequences. Sometimes this damage is easily seen, at other times the damage is hidden inside wall and roof spaces. Regardless of where it occurs, moisture damage can lead to serious problems, such as rot, mould, and even structural failure.​

How can I control moisture?

Always use your home ventilation system to control moisture. In a typical home, over 20 litres of water are added to the indoor environment every day. That’s 7,300 litres in a year, enough to fill a medium-sized swimming pool. Bathroom fans, kitchen range hoods and packaged ventilators such as heat-recovery ventilators are specifically installed in your home to help you control moisture and contaminants. Regular use of your home ventilation system will exhaust excess airborne moisture caused by bathing, showering, doing laundry and cooking.​

What else can I do to control moisture?

Here are some extra tips you can follow to help prevent moisture damage to your home.

Outside the home

  • Keep flowerbeds or landscaping at least six inches or 150 mm away from the top of the foundation. Placing soil near or above the top of the foundation allows moisture to come into direct contact with the structure of the building.
  • Ensure that land adjacent to the foundation slopes away from the home so that rainwater and snow melt will run away from the foundation.
  • Clear eavestroughs of debris regularly and extend downspouts so that water is directed away from the building. Water flow can erode the ground near the foundation and create depressions where water collects. Standing water near the foundation can force its way into the basement.
  • Fix the caulking around windows and doors and on the roof if it becomes cracked or separated.
  • Have your roof inspected regularly to ensure shingles, flashing and chimney caps are in place and sealed properly

Inside the home

  • In the winter, keep the relative humidity in your home in the range of 30-45%. Lower humidity levels may affect your health and cause things made of wood to shrink. Excess humidity can cause condensation on windows and damage the surrounding wall. When using a humidifier, follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • In the summer, dehumidify the basement to avoid condensation buildup on the cool foundation walls. Relative humidity levels should not exceed 60%.
  • Repair leaky pipes and fixtures immediately. Clean and completely dry any areas that are dampened or wet within 48 hours.
  • Store organic materials such as newspapers and clothes away from cool, damp areas. Keep storage areas tidy so that air circulates freely.
  • If you are adding a hot tub to your home, or have a large collection of plants, consider the amount of moisture they will add to your indoor air and ventilate accordingly.
  • Never vent your clothes dryer inside your home. If you have a gas- or propane-fired dryer you may also be venting carbon monoxide inside your home!
  • Investigate and identify any musty smells and odours. They are often an indicator that there is a hidden moisture problem.​

 

For more information check out these helpful articles!
For basement and crawlspace maintenance
For bathroom condensation tips 
For Carpets

For more information on preventing mold and hidden moisture please contact us today!

Mold and Mycotoxins: Often overlooked factors in Chronic Lyme Disease

“Lyme” Is More than Lyme Alone

Mold & mycotoxins can be linked to Lyme Disease

Mold & Mycotoxins – linked to Lyme Disease


In the recently released book “Why Can’t I Get Better?: Solving the Mystery of Lyme and Chronic Disease” by Richard I. Horowitz, MD, a compelling argument is made that there is much more to chronic Lyme disease than Lyme alone. In fact, Dr. Horowitz unveils his “16-Point Differential Diagnostic Map” which suggests numerous “nails” in the foot which must be explored in order to regain wellness. He further expands the concept of “chronic Lyme disease” by suggesting MSIDS, or Multiple Systemic Infectious Disease Syndrome, as a more encompassing term for the multiple underlying factors involved in chronic illness.

In my personal experience recovering from Lyme disease after a tick bite in 1996 in Northern California, the journey has been one of uncovering many stones and addressing numerous layers of issues that were impacting my health. While Borrelia, Bartonella, Babesia, Ehrlichia, and many other microbial factors did play a role, it was not until I read the book “Mold Warriors” by Ritchie Shoemaker MD in 2006 that I considered the possibility of mold as another key part of the systemic body burden that had unknowingly made me ill for so many years.

Upon further evaluation, it was determined that I had been living in an apartment for nearly ten years that was contaminated with numerous molds including Stachybotrys, better known as “toxic black mold”. Removing myself from this constant, daily exposure to an environment that was not conducive with my recovery was an important step to take. Moving to a safer environment was one of the best things that I did as part of my journey back to health. I do not think I would be where I am today if I had not discovered and addressed this ongoing, toxic environmental factor that was contributing to my then poor state of health.

The connection between those struggling with chronic Lyme disease and ongoing exposure to toxic molds and mycotoxins is quite clear. Dr. Wayne Anderson has found that exposure to Lyme disease can make one more susceptible to mold illness, and vice versa; exposure to mold can make one more susceptible to Lyme disease. Both have the potential to affect the immune system and make the other more difficult to treat.

Dr. Neil Nathan has found mold toxicity to be a big piece of the puzzle in a very significant portion of patients with chronic Lyme disease. Lisa Nagy MD has suggested that many Lyme patients have a damaged immune system resulting from mold or pesticide exposures and that a focus on Lyme and co-infections may not always be the right focus.

One of the downsides of “chronic Lyme disease” is that Lyme often becomes the focus of treatment when, in fact, it may not be the dominant stressor that the body is burdened by. The intent behind this article is to suggest a more expanded view of chronic Lyme disease and to consider that both environmental exposures to toxic molds and the production of mycotoxins resulting from fungal colonization in the body can be significant issues in terms of symptom presentation; as well as both the severity and duration of the illness.

What Are Molds and Mycotoxins?

Mold and yeast are both different types of fungi. Molds are multicellular fungi and grow in filamentous hyphae, or long thread-like branches. They produce airborne spores, and are often quite colorful. In nature, molds are the recyclers of organic waste. While they are closer to plants than animals, they cannot undergo photosynthesis and thus rely on organic matter for nutrition. They reproduce using both sexual and asexual methods. Yeasts are single-celled microscopic fungi that are round or oval in shape and are generally colorless in appearance.

They reproduce asexually via mitosis or budding. Yeasts are often used in fermentation of alcoholic beverages such as wine and beer and are used in baking. Some yeasts, such as Candida albicans, can be opportunistic infections in humans.

Mycotoxins are toxic chemicals produced by both molds and yeasts. They are believed to be used by fungal organisms as a protective mechanism; as a way to stake out their territory and to allow for further proliferation of the fungi. Additionally, within a host, they may be used by the fungi in order to weaken host defenses in support of persistence of the fungal organisms.

The environment in which the fungi live may be directly correlated to the output of mycotoxins. The more threatened the fungi are by the surrounding environment, the more they may utilize mycotoxin production as a protective weapon. Mycotoxins are not essential for the fungi to maintain their existence, but they do provide a competitive advantage. In some cases, humans get caught in the crossfire.

Mycotoxins in the body may be the result of external exposure to molds or internal, colonizing fungal organisms. They are generally found intracellularly and may be stored in body fat, myelin, tissues, organs, and other body sites.

While there are hundreds of different mycotoxins that have been discovered, some of the more common ones include aflatoxin, ochratoxin, citrinin, ergot alkaloids, patulin, fumonisin, trichothecene, and zearalenone. The focus of this article will be on aflatoxin, ochratoxin A, and trichothecene given that these can be readily measured via laboratory testing performed on a urine sample; providing a useful tool for practitioners working with patients with mold-associated illnesses.

Ongoing mold and mycotoxin exposure can be a very serious issue creating illness in the genetically susceptible. Sadly, the importance of evaluating for the potential of mold illness and taking appropriate corrective actions is often overlooked by many practitioners and patients alike.

Shoemaker’s Mold Contributions

Ritchie C. Shoemaker MD deserves tremendous credit for being the voice that brought mold illness to our awareness. His “Biotoxin Pathway” and treatment protocol have been instrumental pieces of the puzzle for many struggling with chronic biotoxin illness. Biotoxins are toxins created by living organisms. Mycotoxins are a subset of biotoxins and are produced by fungal organisms.

Visual Contrast Sensitivity (VCS) testing is often a very useful biotoxin screening tool that can be performed online. Mycometrics ERMI (Environmental Relative Moldiness Index) is arguably one of the best evaluation tools for the presence of mold in an indoor environment. Numerous lab tests were brought to our attention by Dr. Shoemaker’s work including HLA testing, which looks for genetic predispositions to various biotoxin illnesses, and markers such as TGF-β1, C4a, C3a, MSH, VIP, VEGF, MMP-9, and others. The information that a trained practitioner can ascertain from the results of these tests is significant in their work to guide a biotoxin-illness patient back to a higher level of health.

Cholestyramine is used in many with Lyme disease and mold illness as a direct result of Dr. Shoemaker’s discoveries. Losartan, VIP nasal spray, and other useful therapeutic options have been introduced to biotoxin-illness sufferers through his work.

Dr. Shoemaker’s approach has benefited and will continue to benefit many suffering with otherwise unexplained illnesses. No article on the topic of mold illness would be complete without a mention of his important contributions, and while not the focus of this article, his work has been life changing for many; myself included. More information about his protocol, his books (Mold Warriors; 2005, Surviving Mold; 2010), and the recently introduced doctor certification program can be found on his web site. Several integrative practitioners now incorporate a combination of the Shoemaker Protocol with several of the other options discussed in this article.

Mold and Mycotoxin Symptoms and Associated Conditions

Symptoms produced in humans as a result of mold and mycotoxin exposure are widely varied and may range from no response or simple allergy to cancer or even death.

“Symptoms can be caused by mold allergy, mold colonization (or infection), or mold toxicity, or a combination of these. Until Dr. Shoemaker raised awareness around the toxicity component, we had focused exclusively on allergy and infection. It is the understanding that mold toxicity, with its marked, uncontrolled outpouring of inflammatory cytokines, produces the same wide array of unusual symptoms that we see in Lyme disease and its co-infections that has dramatically improved our ability to diagnose and treat a large subset of patients that had been previously struggling to get better,” said Dr. Neil Nathan.

The symptoms may be dependent on the types of molds and mycotoxins, the duration of the exposure, and the overall health of the exposed person. Mycotoxins damage the immune system and may make one more sensitive to bacterial endotoxins found on the outer membrane of bacterial cell walls. With an increased sensitivity, the body’s response to Borrelia burgdorferi, the causative agent of Lyme disease, and co-infections may be heightened and lead to a further exacerbation of overall symptoms.

Mycotoxins can cause coughing, wheezing, asthma, shortness of breath, sneezing, burning in the throat and lungs, and sinusitis. Memory loss, confusion, brain fog, and cognitive impairment may present. Vision problems, eye irritation, headaches, swollen lymph nodes, ringing in the ears, dizziness, hearing loss, fatigue, muscle weakness, multiple chemical sensitivities, joint pain, muscle pain, irregular heartbeat, seizures, depression, anxiety, irritability, psoriasis, skin irritation, fever, chills, sleep disorders, coagulation abnormalities, and numerous other symptoms have all been associated with mycotoxin exposures.

According to Dr. Joseph Brewer at the 2013 ILADS annual meeting, mycotoxins bind to DNA and RNA, alter protein synthesis, increase oxidative stress, deplete antioxidants, alter cell membrane function, act as potent mitochondrial toxins, and alter apoptosis.

Molds and their mycotoxins may negatively impact the endocrine system including sex hormones, thyroid function, and adrenal function. Mold exposure may lead to food allergies and chemical sensitivity. In some cases, POTS (Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome) may be mold-induced.

Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome have both been associated with mycotoxin exposure. Other conditions that may have a mycotoxin component may include various cancers, diabetes, atherosclerosis, cardiovascular disease, hypertension, autism, rheumatoid arthritis, hyperlipidemia (elevated cholesterol), inflammatory bowel disease, Lupus, Sjögren’s syndrome, Crohn’s disease, Multiple Sclerosis, Alzheimer’s disease, Raynaud’s Disease, kidney stones, vasculitis, and others.

It has been suggested that elevated cholesterol may be a protective mechanism of the body as a response to mycotoxin exposure. Statin drugs have antifungal properties, and one of the mechanisms through which they may help to lower cholesterol is through the reduction of mycotoxins as systemic fungal populations are reduced.

In those with chronic Lyme disease, it is difficult to separate the symptoms associated with mold and mycotoxin exposure from those associated with Lyme disease or even those associated with heavy metal toxicity. The overlap is significant, and as a result, all of these items must be explored as symptoms believed to be associated with Lyme disease may not be entirely the result of Lyme itself.

For more information check out BetterHealthGuy.com

Saskatchewan and Alberta Air Quality Advisory: 2015

Fire Danger

Top areas affected by more than 100 wildfires across Canada

 

Saskatchewan and Alberta Air Quality Advisory

As many of our readers are aware, there has been high amounts of smoke and wildfires in Northern Saskatchewan & Alberta. The air quality in the outdoor environment has caused some concern for many people with respiratory issues, children & pregnant woman.

The largest fire near Weyakwin is three times the size of Yorkton. The Star Phoenix reports around 1,000 people in Saskatchewan have been forced to take shelter in other communities away from the wildfires, in schools, rec centres and hotels. However, the number of evacuees is likely to be higher, because the province’s social services ministry only tracks those in its care.
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Visibilities have been reduced to less than 2 km in many areas especially in Central and Northern Saskatchewan. Closer to the fires, air quality is poor in many areas due to the smoke,” Environment Canada says. “Smoke near the ground may cause potentially high health risk conditions. The smoke is expected to persist over the next couple of days as winds will remain from the northwest and little to no precipitation is expected to flush out the smoke and haze.”

There have been 510 fires in 2015 to date. There are nearly 50 fires that are larger than 100 hectares burning in Saskatchewan, spreading from one side of the province to the other in the north.

Travel not recommended in the La Ronge area while a fire ban remains in place for all of northern Saskatchewan. Fireworks are also prohibited.

While there is no immediate threat to La Ronge, the communities of Montreal Lake, Wadin Bay, Sucker River, English Bay, Nemeiben and Weyakwin are under evacuation.

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Montreal Lake Councillor Roger Bird said things became pretty intense when the fire came very close to the community, but with some help from provincial fire fighters they were able to save the homes.

In neighbouring Alberta, more than 130,000 hectares have burned as of June 29. Of 125 wildfires currently burning, 37 are out of control, according to a report from Monday.

The Northwest Territories are on their way to another active season, with more than 180,000 hectares burned and 166 fires burned to date. Officials are warning people in the town of Hay River to prepare to evacuation if the situation in that part of the territory worsens.

At this time we would like to remind our readers to take precaution if you need to be outdoors

  • If you have neighbors, friends or relatives that live alone, check periodically to make sure they are OK. Seniors and people with heart or lung conditions may get sick from the smoke. When doors and windows are kept closed to keep the smoke out, houses may also get very hot. This can lead to heat exhaustion or heatstroke. Use fans to move air around inside the house
  • Don’t run an air conditioner that needs to draw air in from the outdoors
  • When in your vehicle keep the air on recirculate to avoid sucking the smoke inside.
  • Keep physical activity outdoors to a minimum
  • Try and keep travel to a minimum
  • Patients with asthma or other respiratory conditions should be vigilant about avoiding smoke and continue taking their prescribed medication. These people should alsnot hesitate to take their rescue medication when they need it. People on home oxygen should not make any changes to their oxygen.
  • If you have room air cleaners with HEPA filters, turn them on.
  • If you are at work and begin to feel air quality issues in their work area, please alertyour director and or site leaders. Facilities and maintenance staff are doing what they can to mitigate the issue but it is impossible to make our buildings completely free of the smoke.
  • Drink plenty of water to keep your nose and mouth hydrated to keep breathing easy
  • Be alert to Public Service Announcements and updates from the Ministries of Health and Environment and further updates from the Region.