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Air and Water

Air quality

Our health is affected by the air we breathe. Poor air quality can cause breathing problems, nausea or headaches. If you have a chronic health problem that affects your breathing – such as asthma, allergies or lung disease – poor air quality can make your condition much worse. 

You can take steps to minimize your exposure to common indoor and outdoor pollutants in the air.

In the home, common pollutants include dust mites, animal dander and mould. You can improve indoor air quality by keeping your home clean, dust-free and well-ventilated. Avoid tobacco smoke in your home.

Outdoors, the most common cause of poor air quality is particulate matter caused by combustion (e.g. wood fires, vehicle emissions). One of the largest sources of particulate matter in BC is wood fires and stoves in homes. You can reduce particulate matter by choosing clean burning appliances and limiting wood fires in and around your home.

If your community is exposed to wildfire smoke or other unexpected air pollutants, be sure to follow special instructions from public health experts. This may include staying indoors, especially if you have a chronic health problem that affects your breathing.

Resources

Water-borne diseases

Our health is affected by the water we drink. Water-borne infections are any illnesses caused by drinking water that is contaminated with certain germs, like bacteria, viruses, or parasites.

Most community water systems in BC have effective treatment methods like disinfection or chlorination to keep water safe. People can get sick with water-borne infections when:

  • the source of drinking water is not properly treated, or
  • water storage tanks or reservoirs become infected with germs.
You can protect yourself against water-borne disease by always drinking treated water. Never drink water directly from lakes, streams, rivers, springs or ponds.

Boiling your water before drinking will kill any harmful germs. Do this if your community has a boil water advisory or notice, or if you have any concerns about your water safety.

People with very weak immune systems are at higher risk of certain water-borne diseases. If you or your child has a weakened immune system, ask your health care provider about taking extra precautions with your drinking water.

Resources

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