Asthma Precautions for Forest Fires

 In Blog
Epic picture from the Black Forest Fire.

Photo courtesy of Wayne Laugesen

With the Black Forest Fire being called “the most destructive” in the history of Colorado forest fires, and the Royal Gorge Fire nearly destroying a park which so many cherish and love, we should begin to think about smoke inhalation from forest fires and asthma precaution. While smoke may smell distinct, inhaling it certainly is not beneficial to one’s health. Smoke is a mixture of gases and fine particles which are produced when wood and other things burn. These particles, when inhaled, have a potential to cause a multitude of health problems like burning eyes, runny nose, bronchitis and asthma. Smoke inhalation from forest fires can also affect those who have heart and lung disease and have been linked to the cause of death of individuals afflicted with such conditions. The particulate matter inhaled can build up in the lungs and, if the exposure is prolonged, lead to the aggravation of previously unknown illnesses.

Children, older adults, and anyone with lung disease are highest at risk to contract health problems from smoke inhalation from forest fires. The younger ones among us are still developing their respiratory systems and thus are more at risk than adults, as they proportionately breathe more air per pound of body mass than adults, leading to increased exposure of air pollution. And with forest fires raging around us, it is almost impossible for anyone not to be exposed to some kind of smoke inhalation. The particles which make up the smoke from forest fires work their way deep into the lungs of an individual building up over time and leading to complications. Fire smoke particles cannot be prevented by a simple dust mask, which are designed for much larger particles such as sawdust, but rather require more sophisticated filtering systems to help keep the particulate matter out of our lungs.

It is for these reasons that it is extremely important to think about asthma precaution – as once asthma is diagnosed, certain steps can be taken to help alleviate a chance of the condition worsening. Those who are concerned about asthma precaution are urged to come into Asthma and Allergy Associates to get tested! As the Black Forest Fire and the Royal Gorge Fire continue to roar on and still have extended effects after being put out, the risk of developing asthma or exacerbating your current condition increases. Now that other fires such as the West Fork Fire,  the East Peak Fire, the fire up in Jefferson County and all the other fires that have just recently popped up are blazing, everyone must be cautious of all outdoor activities.  Be safe, be vigilant, and be wise. Come in and see our professional allergists for testing today!

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