It doesn't take a rocket scientist to determine that breathing in all of this ridiculous hazy smoke (that has usurped the Yakima Valley) is bad for your throat and lungs.

Some authorities are suggesting that we wear an air mask if we're going to be outside for a brief or extended period of time during #SmoPacalypse2018 (that's the silly name I gave it).

When the heavy smoke first started filling up the air in Yakima, I immediately had trouble doing my day job, talking on the radio! At first, I briefly lost my voice and when it returned, I sounded like I had been smoking an entire pack of cigarettes in one sitting. (Remember Marge Simpson's sisters, Patty and Selma Bouvier? That's what I sounded like! Dreadful.)

I know where you can get a mask for FREE! You see, last year (or maybe it was the year before that) when the wildfires got out of hand like they are now, there was a hospital that gave out free air masks. I wondered if there was a local hospital doing that this year.

I first stopped by Virginia Mason Memorial Hospital to see if I could get one of those free air masks, but they told me they didn't have any. I next drove over to  Astria Regional Medical Center (formerly known as Regional Hospital). Just park your car, walk inside and if you ask very nicely, the staff will give you a FREE air mask, while supplies last!

There are two air mask options: the little one and the big one. The little one is the standard surgical mask (not really recommended for bad air quality, but hey, anything helps, right) and the big one is a particle respirator (recommended). You get to choose.

Choose wisely, my friend. During the #SmoPacalypse2018, your lungs (and your voice) may depend on it!

If you live near Ellensburg or Cle Elum, KIMA-TV says you can get a free air mask here.

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