The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency issued a statewide air quality alert in early August due to smoke spreading across northern Minnesota and southern Minnesota.

Smoke from wildfires in western Canada will continue to affect Minnesota. Air Quality Indices in the orange category spread eastward across northern Minnesota Friday, making air quality unhealthy for sensitive groups.

There are people who are more likely to be affected when fine particle pollution reaches an unhealthy level:

• People who have asthma or other breathing conditions like chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, known as COPD.

• People who have heart disease or high blood pressure.

• Children and older adults.

• People of all ages who are doing extended or heavy, physical activity like playing sports or working outdoors.

Air pollution can aggravate heart and cardiovascular disease as well as lung diseases like asthma and COPD. When the air quality is unhealthy, people with these conditions may experience symptoms like chest pain, shortness of breath, wheezing, coughing, or fatigue. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, use your inhalers as directed and contact your health care provider.

Everyone should take precautions when the air quality is unhealthy:

• Take it easy and listen to your body.

• Limit, change, or postpone your physical activity level.

• If possible, stay away from local sources of air pollution like busy roads and wood fires.

• If you have asthma or other breathing conditions like COPD make sure you have your relief/rescue inhaler with you.

• People with asthma should review and follow guidance in their written asthma action plan. Make an appointment to see your health provider if you don't have an asthma action plan.