YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Wednesday has been declared as an Air Quality Advisory Day for Youngstown. Mahoning Valley Air currently lists on its website that air quality in Youngstown is listed as unhealthy.

This is due to the dense smoke from eastern Canadian wildfires reaching northeastern Ohio. This smoke has created a code red alert for air quality here in the Valley for the first time in more than a decade. This means the air outside is unhealthy for everyone.

“Everybody should stay inside and limit as much as possible,” said Steven Pavlak, a registered respiratory therapist with Mercy Health.

Pavlak says if you’re older or have conditions like COPD or emphysema, you’re especially at risk, along with kids and those with asthma.

“Although our nasal passages are great filters and humidified, the gas that we breathe, those fine particles can actually get into the lung and become quite an irritant,” Pavlak said.

Smoke from hundreds of wildfires across Canada is causing this irritation. Storm Team 27 Meteorologist Jim Loboy says the stagnant airflow isn’t helping.

“Normally, we don’t have air quality issues until we get deep into this summer when we get really stagnant air, very humid air, and it keeps all those particles at the surface,” Loboy said.

Pavlak says these irritants can cause sneezing and watery eye allergy symptoms, but if you’re having more severe issues like trouble breathing, talk to your doctor. You should limit your time outside, avoid any kind of strenuous outdoor activity and stay inside with the air conditioning on.

“If they are going to go outside, they should wear a mask, N-95 type mask,” Pavlak said.

“People, if they were to be outside, especially if they are exercising, breathing faster, they are going to be inhaling particulates at concentrations that normal smokers would,” said Dr. Loren Wold with the OSU College of Medicine.

Storm Team 27 meteorologists said conditions could get worse throughout the day. Additional partly sunny skies and temperatures in the mid-to upper-70s will aid ozone production, according to the alert. These conditions, combined with pollutant carryover from day to day, will cause unhealthy AQI levels for everyone on Wednesday.

The ozone in the atmosphere is also part of the problem.

“Not to mow your lawn during the peak heating hours, don’t fill up your car during the peak heating hours. So the ozone is kind of up too, so that’s kind of compounding the problem,” Loboy said.

The EPA says these particulate levels are expected to remain elevated through Thursday. Things should get marginally better Thursday but still dangerous for sensitive groups.

Our meteorologists say air quality should improve when we get rain early next week.