Public Health News - Washington State Local Health Insurance - CHPW
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Public Health News

Washington public health updates

Visit these trusted resources for the information you need to keep yourself, your family, and your community safer.

Table of Contents

On this page:

Weather Weather and Natural Disasters

Latest Washington health advisories

These public health advisories are affecting Washington right now.

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Learn more

See the Washington Department of Health emergency website for more information.

CDC updates

Recent updates provided and maintained by the CDC Newsroom*:

Wildfire smoke safety

The dangers of outdoor smoke

Outdoor smoke contains very small particles and gases, including carbon monoxide. These particles can get into your eyes and lungs where they can cause health problems.

The main sources of outdoor smoke in Washington are:

  • Wildfires
  • Wood stoves, pellet stoves, and fireplaces
  • Agricultural burning
  • Prescribed fires (used to manage forests)

Poor air quality can irritate and damage lungs, especially for people who have congestive heart failure, chronic obstruction pulmonary disease (COPD), asthma, and other heart or breathing conditions. Exposure can also cause a fast heart rate, chest pain, trouble breathing, and asthma attacks.

People with heart or respiratory conditions, children, and the elderly are most at risk for poor air quality from wildfire smoke. However, smoky air can affect you even if you’re not in a high-risk group, causing sore throat, headaches, runny nose, and fatigue.

What you can do about wildfire smoke

When smoke arrives it’s important to reduce exposure by staying up to date on the forecast and air quality index, limiting time outside, closing windows and doors, and keeping indoor air as clean as possible.

After several days smoke can enter homes and buildings through leaky gaps in windows and doors. Having a way to filter indoor air will benefit your health.

It’s key to buy supplies in advance because they often sell out quickly when it’s smoky out.

Filter indoor air by using a:

Smoke safety resources

You can stay updated on wildfires, air quality, the forecast, and health information on the WA Smoke Blog.

For more information on how to protect yourself from wildfire smoke, visit the DOH’s Smoke from Fires webpage.

Learn some steps you can take to stay healthy when the air quality is low on CHPW Connections.


Call our Customer Care team at 1-800-440-1561 (TTY: 711)

Sources: CDC, FDA, CNN, American Academy of Family Physicians, American Academy of Pediatrics, American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, EthnoMed, Greater Than COVID, Johns Hopkins Medicine, Mayo Clinic, National Association of Community Health Centers, National Immigration Law Center, National Resource Center for Refugees, Immigrants, and Migrants, Northwest Justice Project, WA Department of Health, WA State Coronavirus Response, Yale Medicine

*CDC Updates RSS feed provided and maintained by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) (usage guidelines and disclaimer).

CHPW joins health care providers across the state in our commitment to supporting COVID-19 vaccination.

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