Have you been looking to the southwest?
The sky is cloudy and welcome rain is falling, but the fire season is not over. It's only early July, and we will have more hot, dry weather. The next time smoke blows into Denver, I’d like to further elaborate on this topic.Let's now let's down to business. Persons most susceptible to smoke and airborne particulates are:
- Older folks, who have less respiratory function and lung capacity.
- People with respiratory and circulation conditions, such as hardening of the arteries, blood clots, heart conditions, and sinus problems.
- Homeowners who clean their garages, basements, and attics without adequate ventilation.
Symptoms of wildfire smoke include cough, chest tightness, and irritation of the eyes and throat. If these persist, schedule a visit with your health care provider, and bring along your medications.
Don’t forget that exposure to vehicle emissions, internal combustion engines, restaurant grills, and your neighbor’s gasoline-fueled lawn mower might cause similar symptoms.
Closing your bedroom windows at night can help. You might want to do your exercising indoors rather than jogging or walking outside.
Change your furnace filter if it has been awhile, and make sure your central air conditioning system is working properly. When was the last time you serviced your window air conditioner? In addition, cool mist vaporizers next to your bed can soothe your sinuses and throat as you sleep. However, they have to be cleaned periodically.
One final point. Duration and intensity of the exposure is important. Longer exposure time equals greater risk.
DON'T SMOKE Do I really have to say that?
Now, the atmospheric stuff. I’ll admit I’m not a meteorologist. Known components of wildfires “blowin’ in the wind” include particulate matter (soot and ash), polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbons, aldehydes, volatile organic compounds, and carbon monoxide. Wow, that’s a mouthful. All these may cause eye and throat irritation, headache, dizziness, and difficulty with concentration. However, you can minimize your risk by following Dr. Clem’s above recommendations.
Source: Colorado Department of Health and Environment.
“The clearest way to the universe is through a forest wilderness.” John Muir.
Useful websites regarding Colorado wildfires are:http://www.cdphe.state.co.us/Wildfires/WildfireRecoveryGudianceRespiratory.pdf