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How to Protect Yourself From Wildfire Smoke if you Work Outside 
The Disability Guys

This article is brought to you by the New York-based Workers’ Compensation law firm, Markhoff & Mittman, P.C.

Smoke Covers the Northeast

Millions of Americans who work outdoors face health risks due to poor air quality as smoke from Canadian wildfires blankets the Northeast.

This past June, the smoke turned the sun and moon red and forced many people to stay indoors. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued air quality advisories for parts of New York, New Jersey, and 7 other states in the Northeast.

According to the EPA, exposure to wildfire smoke can cause:

  • Respiratory Issues
  • Eye Irritation
  • Headaches
  • Fatigue
  • Chest Pain
  • among other conditions

People with asthma, COPD, heart disease, or diabetes are especially vulnerable to the effects of smoke.

Staying indoors is not an option for many workers who rely on the outdoors for their livelihoods. Landscapers, construction workers, delivery drivers, teachers, and lifeguards are among those who may have to endure these smoky conditions.

Masking Up and Avoiding the Smoke

Dr. Panagis Galiatsatos, a lung specialist and spokesperson for the American Lung Association, told CBS that outdoor workers, in the event of wildfire smoke, should take precautions to protect themselves. Wearing a tight-fitting mask, with a one-way valve, can filter out the fine particles in the smoke. If such masks are not available, N95s or surgical masks can also help. Dust masks, which are not designed to block smoke particles, should be avoided.

He also suggested changing clothes after working outside and washing them immediately, to avoid inhaling the particles that may have settled on the fabric. This can also protect family members from secondhand exposure.

Even short-term exposure to poor air quality can have long-term consequences for health. Experts recommended checking the air quality index on weather apps before going outside. If the index is below 100, which is considered moderate, it should be safe to be outside. If the index is higher, it’s best to limit the time spent outdoors and wear a mask.

Outdoor workers should also pay attention to their symptoms and seek medical attention if they experience any breathing difficulties, chest pain, or other signs of distress.

Finding Solutions for Sick and Injured Workers

If you are a worker who has been affected by wildfire smoke, you may have legal options to protect your health and income. The most important thing for you to do is try and remove yourself from the situation and seek medical care. Documenting your exposure to smoke and what injuries you have sustained is important to any legal claim you might have.

The Disability Guys can help you file a claim for benefits under the New York State Workers’ Compensation Law, Short Term Disability, and other disability programs if you have sustained an injury due to exposure to smoke and poor air quality. These benefits can provide you with cash payments and medical care for your pain and suffering, lost wages, medical expenses, and more. With multiple locations, including an office in East Harlem, they are accessible to injured workers in and around NYC and Westchester County.

Markhoff & Mittman, P.C.
1825 Park Ave #901
New York, NY 10035

If you’ve suffered an illness or injury caused by wildfire smoke, call us today at 866-205-2415 for a free consultation.

Read the source article here.

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