Snoqualmie Valley Weekend Air Quality Deteriorates; Residents Reaching For Inhalers Were Not Alone

My daughter had just recovered from her first school year illness this week when it seemed she was coming down with something new.  She was stuffy, had an itchy throat and was coughing A LOT.  I kept thinking could she really get two illnesses in less than one week?  Then I opened our back windows and smelled smoke in the air and the pieces started falling into place.

My youngest child suffers from slight asthma; nothing horrible, but the cough is usually worse than the wheeze when it happens.  Sometimes colds will trigger it, but it doesn’t happen too often.

But the wind flow direction switched on Friday.  Atmospheric high pressure changed it to an easterly direction. With the wildfires still burning in Central Washington, smoke and haze filtered back into the Snoqualmie Valley.  It wasn’t as bad as a couple of weeks prior, but it was back nonetheless.

Saturday’s soccer game seemed to really trigger my daughter’s symptoms. After heavily exerting herself, she was pulled from the game because her throat hurt so badly that she needed water to stop it.  Yesterday she sniffled and coughed all day.  All our home’s windows were open.

Last night a light bulb went on.  I checked the Puget Sound Clean Energy Agency website and discovered the valley’s air quality had made it to “moderate” levels which means “unusually sensitive people should consider reducing prolonged or heavy exertion.”  Our problem was our windows were open all weekend and our daughter ran around on a Snoqualmie soccer field, creating the exposure to trigger her asthma.  I asked on Facebook if any others were suffering and the answers came in quickly – yes.

Windows were closed last night and air conditioning was turned on – yes, in October.  I pulled out and nddministered Albuterol and Flovent inhalers and then put a sniffling, coughing child to bed – and she slept with minimal coughing.  Her coughing is usually worse at night.  The medicine seemed to work.

So… the windows will stay closed until this weather pattern changes, which the National Weather Service says might be in the next couple days when the onshore flow and westerly winds return.  The first real chance at rain won’t be until this weekend when the weather jet stream moves and points right at the Pacific Northwest; and maybe, just maybe puts an end to the Central Washington wildfires and this “once in a lifetime” record dry spell.

Thank you to all the Living Snoqualmie Facebook readers who helped me realize I wasn’t crazy, as  they were also struggling with the same symptoms this weekend.  I am officially ready for some fall rain.

And don’t forget, Governor Gregoire mandated a bun ban in ALL of Washington until at least October 15th.  For more info on that click HERE.

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