Its fire season in Texoma, and just this week a number of grass fires blazed across multiple fields. While no one was injured and no homes have been destroyed, the smoke could still be causing problems.
A number of health complications are associated with smoke particles from fires.
“Even those individuals who have no preexisting symptomatology to disease processes can suffer the consequences of smoke inhalation,” said Tammy Kurszewski a Clinical Chair for Respiratory Care at Midwestern State University.
Many times people may not know they are breathing in harmful particles.
“Even if smoke is not visibly present you can definitely be breathing in particulates and even possible toxic materials associated with burning grass, timbers, materials in those fields, in those areas,” said Kurszewski.
In order to prevent major respiratory issues, health officials said, there are a few preventative steps you can take.
If you get word of a fire in the area minimize your time outdoors and keep any windows closed. When you're driving, make sure your windows are rolled up and your air conditioning is on recirculate.
Officials said you could experience symptoms including coughing, shortness of breath and even wheezing. This can be especially troubling for residents who are asthmatic or have preexisting conditions.
“Obviously healthy living is going to be a good thing,” said Kurszewski. “You want to make sure that you're hydrated and you have great nutrition but if you continue to see symptomatogly the most beneficial method is to see your health care professional.”
With allergy season in full swing she said many people may overlook respiratory illnesses that mimic allergy symptoms.
“Unfortunately grass fires can worsen allergies those individuals that typically have those types of issues this time of year are going to see an increased issue with that,” said Kurszewski.
Health officials said to be mindful and keep an eye on any conditions or symptoms that seem to be worsening. If they continue officials say to contact your health provider.