Wednesday, 01 February 2023

Hospital advises community how to avoid illness from wildfire smoke

CLEARLAKE – Redbud Community Hospital has some advice to help people avoid health problems from the poor air quality caused by wildfires in Lake County.


Air pollution, including smoke from the outdoor fires, can irritate the lungs and throat, especially in individuals with asthma, chronic obstructive lung disease (including chronic bronchitis and emphysema), and heart disease, said John Hodgkin, MD, a nationally known pulmonologist and medical director of Redbud Community Hospital’s Pulmonary Rehabilitation Program and its hospitalist program.


“Approximately 20 percent of people in the United States have super-sensitive airways in their lungs and can also develop problems with their breathing during periods of excessive air pollution,” said Dr.

Hodgkin.


Symptoms of lung irritation from smoke in the air includes: cough, shortness of breath, wheezing, and chest discomfort.


“You should contact your physician if you’re having increased problems with breathing, including worsening cough or shortness of breath. If you feel very short of breath, go to the emergency room for

evaluation to be safe,” said Dr. Hodgkin.


Dr. Hodgkin gives this advice for staying healthy until the air quality improves:


– Avoid going outdoors.

– Close the windows in your home or office.

– Avoid exercise or extra exertion outdoors.

– When indoors, use air conditioning in re-circulation mode or air filtering systems.


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