This past week has been awful living in Vancouver. If you're from the area, then you definitely know that we've been dealing with some awful conditions. Such awful conditions that now many of us locals are dealing with burning and stinging eyes and difficulty breathing.
As you may know, this summer's dry heat and windy weather have been the perfect conditions to spark wildfires across the country. Just over a month ago, we reported that there were literally over 100 forest fires burning in Ontario and BC at the time.
Since the beginning of summer, BC has been dealing with over 500 forest fires! The conditions have become so severe that the entire province has declared a state of emergency.
Over the weekend, an air quality advisory was issued throughout the Fraser Valley, urging locals to stay indoors due to ground-level ozone exposure. The advisory suggested that Vancouverites stay inside and avoid doing strenuous activities outdoors during the mid-afternoon to early evenings.
In the advisory, they also suggest that symptoms can include chest discomfort, shortness of breath, coughing and wheezing. In recent days in Vancouver, I can definitely attest to struggling with those symptoms.
Due to the ozone exposure and the thick smoke that has been blanketing BC, Vancouverites have definitely been struggling when leaving their homes. On Monday night, a friend of mine was over for dinner and I was surprised when she asked me to close my patio door and windows because the smoke outside had been causing her to have breathing difficulties.
She explained that she had been struggling all week from the conditions outside.
As a writer, I spend most of my time typing from my computer indoors. I don't tend to work outdoors so I haven't really been getting the full effect of the conditions outside, until yesterday. I was walking approximately six blocks to the Downtown core to pick up a product that I had ordered from Best Buy. In the mere six blocks that I walked, my eyes became itchy and irritated. As I approached the store, my breathing became difficult.
After I picked up my order, I had planned to walk back home, change and then down the street to my local gym. I was really hoping to get a workout in that day. But by the time I got back home to my apartment (which is a very light five-minute walk) my eyes were stinging and my throat felt awful.
I quickly decided that I needed to get my contacts out of my eyes and lay down on the couch. As soon as I removed my contacts, my eyes became bright red and inflamed. My eyes wouldn't stop watering for the next 15 minutes.
I couldn't even imagine walking to the gym after going through that ordeal. I'm not normally this sensitive to weather conditions, nor do I ever have issues with my breathing, so this totally took me by surprise. I know what you're going to say, it was probably allergies, but no, I've dealt with seasonal allergies all of my life, but this was something more.
Either way, I'm definitely going to listen to the advisory and stay indoors as much as possible for the next little while.