The parents of a nine-year-old boy from 100 Mile House have confirmed he died from an existing medical condition aggravated by wildfire smoke.
The BC Coroners Service says it is investigating the death of Carter Vigh and how it relates to smoke from the hundreds of wildfires burning in the province during the hot, dry start to summer.
“The sudden and unexpected death of this young boy is a heartbreaking loss for his family and community,” said the coroner’s service in a news release on Monday.
The boy’s mother, Amber Vigh, said in a statement on Facebook that she hopes to raise awareness about the seriousness of asthma.
“We want people to know how quickly things can change,” she said in the statement, adding that her son’s death came despite the family being diligent about his care, keeping watch over the boy’s condition closely and having a puffer ready.
Carter Vigh died last week in hospital. His aunt, Anamaria Vigh, has started a GoFundMe page for the family.
The coroners service said people in BC are experiencing the impacts of climate change and “the risks associated with wildfire smoke, extreme heat and other environmental factors.”
The death is a reminder of the “tragic loss of life during the 2021 heat dome,” and of the potentially fatal impacts of BC’s increasingly challenging summer conditions.
Smoke from wildfires is especially dangerous for people with heart and lung conditions, older people and infants and young children.
It’s important to protect yourself by staying indoors with the windows closed, closing the windows and using air conditioning when driving, reducing your time outside and avoiding strenuous exercise, and if possible, using a high-quality portable air cleaner with HEPA filtration.
If you need to, it’s also a good idea to visit places with controlled air such as malls, swimming pools and public libraries.
The province issues air-quality advisories when wildfire smoke becomes a problem, and people can sign up to receive those warnings automatically. More information about wildfire smoke risks is available at bccdc.ca.
— With a file from The Canadian Press
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