Smoky skies tough on respiratory system

JACKSON, Wyo. — A pack-a-day habit has nothing on today’s mountain air.

As wildfires burn in nearby states and wildland fire smoke settles in the valley, Teton County Health Department is encouraging Jackson residents to be mindful of the potential health effects caused by wildfire smoke.

Wildfire smoke can hurt your eyes, aggravate respiratory problems and worsen the symptoms of heart or lung disease.

According to Dr. Travis Riddell, Teton District Health Officer, “Everyone should avoid heavy outdoor exercise when our local air is smoky. Those at-risk should be especially careful in limiting their smoke exposure.”

At-risk individuals include people who have pre-existing heart and respiratory conditions, including allergies, asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Older adults are more likely to be affected because they are more likely to have heart or lung disease, and children are vulnerable because their airways are still developing and because they breathe more air per pound of body weight than adults.

When staying indoors because of wildfire smoke people should keep their indoor air as clean as possible. Below are a few suggestions residents should follow:

  • Try to keep windows and doors closed.
  • Keep the fresh-air intake closed and the filter clean if you run an air conditioner.
  • Seek shelter elsewhere if you do not have an air conditioner and it is too warm to stay inside with the windows closed.
  • When smoke levels are high, do not use anything that burns, such as candles, fireplaces or gas stoves.
  • Do not vacuum, because vacuuming stirs up particles already inside your home.
  • Do not smoke, because it increases a person’s total exposure to particulate matter in the air.

Smoke will continue across the Cowboy State today. Here is a computer forecast showing more smoke moving into the west and north this afternoon from the many wildfires in CA/NV/OR/ID. #wywx #wyfire

Posted by US National Weather Service Riverton Wyoming on Friday, August 21, 2020

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