Metro Vancouver has issued an air quality advisory due to the fine particulates in smoke from wildfires that have invaded the region.

People with chronic medical conditions are being warned to avoid strenuous exercise or to stay inside.

Health officials say exposure is a particular concern for infants, the elderly and those who have lung or heart disease or diabetes.

Roger Quan, Metro Vancouver's director of air quality said the region didn't feel it was necessary to issue an advisory Sunday morning because the smoke was being held aloft.  

But as the day progressed he said air turbulence picked up and there was more "vertical mixing." 

Similar concentrations of smoke were also being reported over Vancouver Island.

Those wishing to monitor changes in the air quality, can find real time readings at http://www.airmap.ca and www.bcairquality.ca.

Vancouver wildfire smoke

On Sunday, the National Weather Service tweeted this NASA photo of wildfire smoke over Vancouver Island and Metro Vancouver.

What is fine particulate matter?

Fine particulate matter refers to airborne solid or liquid droplets with a diameter of 2.5 micrometres (μm) or less.

It is also known as PM2.5. PM2.5 concentrations tend to be highest around busy roads, industrial operations, major ports as well as areas with residential wood burning.

PM2.5 can easily penetrate indoors because of its small size. 

Tips to reduce your personal health risk.

  • Avoid roads with heavy vehicle traffic and areas with wood smoke.
  • Stay cool and drink plenty of water.
  • Continue to manage medical conditions such as asthma, chronic respiratory disease and heart failure. If symptoms continue to be bothersome, seek medical attention
  • Stay in a cool, air-conditioned environment and reduce indoor sources of pollution such as smoking and vacuuming.
  • Run an air cleaner. Some room air cleaners, such as HEPA filters, can help reduce indoor particulate levels 
  • Take shelter in air-conditioned buildings which have large indoor volumes and limited entry of outdoor air.