Saskatoon

Health officials issue smoke warnings; softball teams play on

The Men's World Softball Championship continues, despite warnings from Saskatoon's MD Ambulance about air quality due to thick smoke.

People with lung conditions advised to stay inside

Infielder Brandon Horn of the Canadian men's softball team attempts to tag out a runner in this file photo. (Canadian Olympic Committee)

Despite a thick cover of smoke enveloping much of Saskatchewan, teams playing in the Men's 2015 World Softball Championship in Saskatoon are still swinging for the fences.

In a mid-afternoon statement Monday, tournament spokesperson Mark Loehndorf confirmed "all games are being played as scheduled, at this time there are no plans to revise our schedule due to the air quality."

Jaroslav Korcak, a coach for the Czech Republic team, said some of his team members are dealing with the smoke by putting towels in front of their mouths in the dugout.

Loyal to their sport, the dedicated players said the games must go on.

Saskatoon's MD Ambulance is asking people who suffer from asthma, or other respiratory ailments, like Emphysema or COPD, to stay inside today.

Environment Canada said air quality is poor right now due to thick smoke from northern fires.

"If you have to be outside, ensure that you have your inhaler with you," said MD Ambulance spokesperson Troy Davies in a news release. "We are also warning healthy individuals who normally run or enjoy outdoor physical fitness to avoid doing this outside today."

When combined with other lung problems, smoky air can make breathing problems much worse.

The Saskatchewan Lung Association said smoky air can trigger asthma attacks, and start chest discomfort, wheezing and shortness of breath.

Young children and the elderly are more likely to be affected.

Experts advise people at risk to stay indoors, with their doors and windows shut. If people are using air conditioners, they're advised to use the recirculate setting.

The Lung Association warns wearing dusk masks will not filter out fine smoke particles in the air.

Patients with chronic conditions that notice increased wheezing, coughing, shortness of breath, and chest heaviness are advised to call their doctor.

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