Fires prompt closure of WIC clinics

— Hazardous air quality has prompted the state Department of Health to temporarily close six of its Women, Infant and Children clinics.

Closed clinics are Grand Coulee, Inchelium, Keller, Nespelem, Omak and Republic.

"Breathing smoky air can cause shortness of breath, coughing and chest pain in healthy people," spokeswoman Kelly Stowe said. "However, people with asthma or other lung diseases may experience more serious symptoms."

According to Stowe, pregnant women, children and older residents are at a higher risk for health problems related to breathing smokey air.

"Physical exertion and outdoor activities should be limited when smoke affects air quality," she said. "If you are advised to stay indoors, keep indoor air as clean as possible. Keep windows and doors closed."

Stowe said residents should only operate air conditioners that allow the fresh-air intake to be closed and are set up to recirculate indoor air.

The agency did not say when the clinics will reopen.


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