Why is wildfire smoke harmful? Learn about how wildfire smoke affects people with respiratory and allergy conditions, and people who are directly fighting the fires from National Jewish Health Allergy and Immunology Expert, Flavia Hoyte, MD.
Wildfire smoke can act as an irritant.
So even in an individual who does not have underlying allergies or does not have an underlying respiratory condition can certainly feel the effects of the irritant and can develop some symptoms particularly cough and sometimes some shortness of breath with exertion and those sorts of things.
Patients with cardiovascular or pulmonary conditions, so disorders of the heart and lungs, tend to be a bit more sensitive to wildfire smoke.
Also patients with allergies or nonallergic rhinitis can have flares of their symptoms when exposed to wildfire smoke.
So certain times of year if there has been a recent wildfire and smoke is out there, just staying indoors as much as possible.
If you are on a chronic controller inhaler making sure you are being really good about using it that time.
In addition, talking to your doctor if symptoms are going in the wrong direction.
Really talking to your doctor about what those implications might be and whether something else is needed for treatment.
Generally the long-lasting impacts of wildfire smoke would be more relevant only for those directly involved in fighting the wildfire who are really exposed to large amounts of fumes or smoke at the time.
Exposure just living in an area where there are wildfires should not cause lasting effects.
Visit njhealth.org/wildfire for more tips on staying comfortable during wildfire season.
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