FORT LAUDERDALE —Health officials at the Broward County Health Department are advising everyone to take precautions during periods of increased air pollution levels.

Infants, children, pregnant women, older adults and people with chronic diseases such as asthma are at greater risk from breathing in smoke from wildfires, the department said in a statement.

Smoke from wildfires may cause coughing, a scratchy throat, irritated sinuses, shortness of breath, chest pain, headaches, stinging eyes and a runny nose.  Problems can begin a very short time after breathing in smoke and without warning.

The department offers the following recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:

• Limit outdoor activities and remain in an air-conditioned environment, if possible.

• If you do not have an air conditioner and if smoke is likely to get into your house, leave the area until the smoke is completely gone.

• Avoid activities that put extra demands on your lungs and heart.  These include exercising or physical chores, both outdoors and indoors.

• Make sure you take all your medications according to the doctor’s instructions.
• Dust masks, bandanas, or other cloths (even if wet) will not protect you from smoke.

• Contact your medical provider if you are concerned or your health gets worse.  

For information on Broward County’s air quality forecast, call the Broward County Air Quality Division at 954-519-1220 or visit

For information on programs and services of the Broward County Health Department, visit