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The harmful effects of wildfire smoke

Wildfire smoke effects
Posted at 7:09 PM, Aug 25, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-25 21:09:06-04

Thick smoke from dozens of wildfires burning throughout the western United States has led to weeks of poor air quality from California to Colorado.

And now after several weeks of thick smoke and haze, many Southern Colorado residents are fed up with these smoky skies.

Not only is the hot weather uncomfortable, but this stagnant weather pattern with persistent high levels of smoke can also be harmful.

Reducing exposure by limiting time outside is key, and important to everyone's health. Children, the elderly and people with health problems are of particular concern.

Wildfire smoke effects
Harmful effects of wildfire smoke

Even for the average healthy person, smoke can hurt your eyes, causing them to turn red and itchy.

Prolonged exposure can also irritate your throat by making it sore or scratchy. Your nose, ears and skin may also become irritated.

Another concern is your respiratory system, which allows us to breathe. People with asthma, heart or lung disease are especially vulnerable to wildfire smoke.

Lastly, you should avoid strenuous activities outside during smoky days. In these conditions, breathing can become difficult, especially if you suffer from asthma or COPD.

We spoke to Dr. Sotores earlier today, a physician with Asthma and Allergy Associates in Colorado Springs. He told News 5 that ozone levels today were very high because of wildfire smoke and said that it's best to stay inside if it bothers you.

Dr. Sotores warned that symptoms can vary from person to person and can be worse for those with pre-existing health problems.

"From wildfires smoke, you can have problems with cough and congestion. I mean, anybody can experience the burning eye sensation, more sinus congestion and pressure, sometimes headaches," said Dr. Sotores.

Bottom line...the best way to protect yourself is to stay home and avoid any big hikes or outside exercise until conditions improve.