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Wildfires can put your immediate safety at risk if you are in an active fire and evacuation area. Smoke from wildfires can also carry toxic respiratory irritants that can trigger asthma attacks and lung health problems for many more.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), exposure can cause chest pain, a fast heartbeat and wheezing, and it can bring on an asthma attack. Besides coughing and trouble breathing, many people experience symptoms similar to a sinus infection or allergies, such as headaches, sore throat, itchy eyes, a runny nose and even tiredness.
The elderly, pregnant women, children and those with chronic heart and lung diseases are at higher risk. People who work outdoors also pose a risk. Talk with your doctor about how to prepare for the smoke if you are at risk.
As wildfires give off more and more smoke, it’s important to protect your health and take simple steps to reduce exposure to smoke and ash particle pollution:
Keeping your home air quality safe is important:
If you have chronic lung health Issues, the American Lung Association encourages you to check in with your doctor before you make any changes to your care plan. Your doctor will want to consider changes to your medicine, mask or oxygen use based on the air quality in your area and how you are feeling.
Originally published 8/26/2020; Revised 2021
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