sailboat in puget sound waters

Poor Air Quality in Puget Sound: Information and Resource Links

sailboat in puget sound waters
Photo by Michael Li (cc license).

Wildfire smoke can cause a range of health problems including trouble breathing, coughing , headaches, chest pain. 

Children, pregnant women, older adults, those with asthma, heart disease and other chronic illnesses are especially vulnerable to these health impacts.

Precautions to Avoid Negative Health Outcomes 

These include: staying indoors (if possible), limiting outdoor physical activity (such as running, walking, bicycling, sports), closing windows at home, using an indoor air filter, keeping windows closed while driving and wearing a N95 or N100 rated filtration mask (available at hardware home repair stores). 

Smoke from wildfires increases health risks for sensitive groups, including children and babies, especially those who also have asthma or other health conditions.  Pregnant women, people over 65, and those who have heart, lung and other health conditions are also at higher risk.

Please check Puget Sound Clean Air Agency website frequently for updates on air quality. Air quality can change quickly, depending on the wind.

Breathing smoky air can cause a wide range of symptoms from watery eyes and coughing to chest pain and asthma attacks. If you or someone you know is experiencing serious symptoms, contact your healthcare provider, or call 911 if these symptoms become life-threatening. 

Recommendations from Washington State Department of Health

  • Close windows and doors as much as possible. Use fans or an air conditioner (AC) when it is hot, and set your AC to recirculate. If you do not have AC and it is too hot to stay home, go to a place with AC such as a mall, library, or community center in your city.
  • Everyone should stay indoors and avoid strenuous physical activities outside.
  • Keep indoor air clean.  
  • Don’t add to indoor air pollution. Don’t use candles, food boilers, incense, or gas stoves. 
  • Don’t vacuum as vacuuming stirs up additional particles into the air.   
  • Use an air cleaner with a HEPA filter,but do not use an air cleaner that produces ozone.
  • Consider creating your own air purifier with a box fan if you cannot afford an air cleaner.
  • Make sure everyone drinks plenty of water.

Information flyers in 10 languages

Resources for everyone as well as specific information for people who are especially sensitive to smoke (English, Spanish, Arabic, Chinese, Korean, Punjabi, Russian, Somali, Tagalog, Ukrainian, Vietnamese) 

Information Flyers in 10 Languages on Air Quality

How People with Health Conditions can Protect Themselves from Wildfire Smoke

Spanish Translation
Video highlighting how pregnant women and children can protect themselves from wildfire smoke.

For more Information on Health Effects from Wildfires

Frequently Asked Questions on Smoke from Fires
Iraqi Food

How Foods Affect Blood Sugar: A Guide for Iraqi and Syrian Patients with Diabetes

Iraqi Food

This presentation is intended to be used by clinicians during discussion with patients about carbohydrates and blood glucose. It is tailored to reflect foods commonly consumed by Iraqi and Syrian Americans and includes photos of foods, meal comparisons, portion sizes, and some information about managing diabetes during periods of fasting.

PDF (146 slides) is available in sidebar.


Harborview Medical Center (HMC) physician Dr. Carey Jackson identified a need for a culturally-tailored visual reference tool to use during conversations about diet with diabetic patients. 


The process of developing this slideshow included guidance from an emerging Iraqi community health board in considering the fit to combine Iraqi and Syrian foods together in a single educational tool. Individuals from varied ethnic and religious backgrounds were invited to participate in interviews and group discussions to inform the educational content. It’s acknowledged that the slideshow is not a complete reflection of the many diverse cultures, foods and dietary traditions present in Iraq and Syria. 

Author Toi Sennhauser created this tool to fulfill practicum requirements for the University of Washington’s School of Public Health, Nutritional Sciences. The project was coordinated through Ethnomed’s student contribution program. Dr. Carey Jackson served as clinical advisor. Rekha Ravindran and Christine Wilson Owens provided program support. Harborview dietitians Lorren Koceja and Iwona Steplewska mentored the author during the project. Meetings were held with health care providers who work with Iraqi and Syrian patients. Cultural guidance was provided by medical interpreter Salahaddin Shamdeen, and interviews and focus groups were organized with the assistance of the Iraqi Community Center of Washington and International Counseling and Community Services.


Many thanks to SoozVeen Catering and Azhar Yassin for providing many of the foods featured in this slideshow. Special thanks to these others who supported and contributed to this work: Dawn Corl, Faten Rashid, Dr. Mahri Haider, Marwa Sadik, Zainab Al-Tameemi.

Funding for this presentation was provided by the Pacific Hospital Preservation and Development Authority.

Iraqi Refugee Mental Health – Community Presentation

Community education PowerPoint presentation (42 min) in Arabic (with summary of talking points in English) about the importance of mental health and common mental conditions among Iraqi refugees such as anxiety, depression, panic disorders and PTSD.

colonoscopy icon

Colonoscopy Test Preparation with GoLytely

UW Medicine’s Digestive Health Center has created two handouts to guide patients who are taking GoLytely to prepare for a colonoscopy.

The first handout, Colonoscopy: How to prepare with GoLytely is a timeline that tells what to do 7 days before, 5 days before, 1 day before, and on the day of the procedure.

The second handout, Colonoscopy: How to prepare with GoLytely (same-day prep), is also a timeline but is for same-day prep.

Handouts are available in Chinese, English, Korean, Russian, Spanish, Vietnamese, Arabic and Japanese.

colonoscopy icon
Photo by Giorno Brando (cc license).
Polio vaccine packaging line

Polio Vaccine Information Statements

The Immunization Action Coalition (IAC) has Vaccine Information Statements (VISs) in many languages. Please visit the IAC website to see all the VISs and languages available.

EthnoMed is featuring the following Polio VISs in languages that have an audio component produced by the 24 Languages Project.

Please see PDFs and Audio files in resource sidebar.

Polio vaccine packaging line
Packaging line for bivalent oral polio vaccine (OPV). Val de Reuil, France – May 20, 2011. Copyright Sanofi Pasteur / Patrick Boulen. File: DSC_2841