At 10 a.m. Thursday, the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality updated its air quality alert for Albemarle County to “very unhealthy.”

The term means that there is a high enough concentration of fine particles in the air to have an effect even on healthy adults.

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The air quality could cause “significant aggravation of heart or lung disease and premature mortality in people with cardiopulmonary disease and older adults; significant increase in respiratory effects in general population,” the state’s warning reads. “People with respiratory or heart disease, the elderly and children are the groups most at risk.”

Folks breathing the air today might notice headaches, eye, sinus and throat irritation, difficulty breathing, fatigue or chest pain, according to the National Weather Service.

The state measures air quality in central Virginia from a station at Albemarle High School. You can keep track of those air quality readings at this link. The site will take you to a map of Virginia. Click on the box near Charlottesville.

The fine particles are from smoke from Canadian wildfires. Meteorologists expect that smoke to stay over the Mid Atlantic and Virginia until this weekend. Read more about that forecast here.

Click here to see Virginia Department of Environmental Quality’s air quality alerts.

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