JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- The Duval County Health Department and the Florida Department of Healthhave issued a health advisory due to the smoke conditions from wildfires burning around Northeast Florida.

The health departments are warning residents against the risks associated with wildfire smoke.

Citizens are warned that wildfire smoke is an irritant that can irritate eyes and the nose and cause a scratchy throat.

People who suffer from asthma and other chronic respiratory or lung conditions could also see their condition worsen if they are exposed to the smoky conditions.

The health department offered these tips on how to protect your family from smoke:

  • Pay attention to local air quality reports, news coverage or health warnings related to smoke.
  • Use common sense when outside conditions are smoky. Avoid prolonged outdoor activities. It is especially important to limit time spent outdoors for children and persons with existing medical conditions.
  • Stay indoors and run your air conditioner, if you have one. Keep the fresh air intake closed and the filter clean to prevent bringing additional smoke inside. For best results, run the air conditioning with recirculated air.
  • If you do not have an air conditioner, staying inside with the windows closed may be dangerous in extremely hot weather.In these cases, seek alternative shelter.
  • Help keep particle levels lower inside.When smoke levels are high, try to avoid using anything that burns, such as wood fireplaces, gas logs, gas stoves and even candles. Do not vacuum, which stirs up particles already inside your home.Also, do not smoke tobacco.
  • Follow your doctors' advice about taking medicines and following your asthma management plan if you have asthma or another lung disease.Call your doctor if your symptoms worsen.

If you would like additional information on the effects of wildfire smoke, call the Duval County Health Department Environmental Health Division at (904) 523-1280.You may also call the


public response hotline at (800) CDC-INFO.