With forest fires raging all over British Columbia, residents of Alberta are noticing increasing smoke in the air.

Riverside Value Drug Mart pharmacist Ray Ainscough said the smoke can be damaging to your health, even if you've been perfectly healthy.

"Absolutely," said Ainscough, when asked whether or not people should take measures to avoid outdoors when the air quality is poor. "With the smoke, even people without asthma are having trouble breathing at times. If you can stay indoors, do it."

He had a specific warning for people with asthma.

"Asthmatics: keep under control of it. You might have to increase your inhaler use. If you need to do it, you need to take care of yourself."

More and more, people are starting to wear face masks to protect themselves from poor air quality. Ainscough wasn't convinced they're good prevention against pollution and smoke.

"No," replied Ainscough, in response to the question. "For the most part, they're just dust prevention. Stay inside if you can."

As of Sept. 9, there are 162 active fires in B.C. More than 1,200 fires this spring and summer have burned over 1.1 million hectares of B.C. forest.

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