Health Concerns from Fire Smoke

The smoke all around Wichita County is impacting our health. Fires have been burning here for several days now, and doctors' offices are seeing patients who have questions about it.

The Allergy Center staff says patients have been coming in complaining about the smoke bothering their nasal systems and stirring up their asthma conditions. It's even causing chest irritation.

Medical Doctor Mac Fitzsimmons told Newschannel 6, once the smoke is inhaled, it's really not easy to undo the damage, but it's best to keep the exposure to a minimum. He says, "The best thing to do after coming inside is to take a shower and change clothes that way at least you're not inhaling new exposures to the same material".

Dr. Fitzsimmons suggests, after heavy exposure, taking these steps will greatly help reduce pulmonary problems. He says, "The fire, with all of the smoke it puts out, will actually irritate anybody's respiratory system, whether they have allergies or not. Anyone who has any sort of pulmonary problem is going to notice it even quicker".

Smoke is composed of gases and particles. The biggest health threat come from the fine particles, which get into our eyes and respiratory systems. This in turn, causes health problems such as burning eyes, runny nose, and illnesses such as bronchitis.

Dr. Fitzsimmons says you can wear a small mask to help filter the smoke, but still it won't prevent the damage entirely. Children and older adults are more susceptible to be affected by smoke; Older adults are more likely to have heart or lung disease and children are still developing their respiratory systems. Furthermore, children breathe more air per pound of body weight than adults.

There are some things you can do to help clear your lungs, such as drinking large amounts of hot tea, chicken soup, using a nasal moistener spray, saline solution, and a wet mask.

Jessica Abuchaibe, Newschannel 6.