Wildfire Smoke Poses Special Threat to People With Asthma
THURSDAY, Sept. 17, 2020 (HealthDay News)
Wildfires are raging across western U.S. states, and the smoke is spreading across much of the country.
It’s important for everyone — especially children and people with asthma and other respiratory illnesses — to stay indoors in order to avoid wildfire smoke, said Dr. J. Allen Meadows, president of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology.
“Smoke from fires is a dangerous irritant to the eyes and respiratory system. It can make heart conditions and lung diseases like asthma worse. Children are especially vulnerable because their lungs are less developed, and they are closer to the ground, and thus more likely to take in more smoke,” Meadows said in a college news release.
If you have to go outside, an N95 mask, properly worn, will offer some protection from wildfire smoke. Paper or cloth dust masks do not protect your lungs from smoke, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says.
Even after smoke levels fall, keep alert for any asthma symptoms. Contact your health care provider if you have trouble breathing, shortness of breath, a cough that won’t stop, or other persistent symptoms. For medical emergencies, call 911 or go right away to an emergency department, Meadows said.
— Robert Preidt
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SOURCE: American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, news release, Sept. 16, 2020