Lake Christine Fire: Smoke And Your Health

Jul 7, 2018

Credit Christin Kay / Aspen Public Radio

Symptoms related to wildfire smoke

-Eye, nose and/or throat irritation--runny eyes and/or nose.

-Coughing, sore throat.

-Trouble breathing or tightness of the chest, which may be symptoms of a health emergency.

-The onset of symptoms related to pre-existing respiratory ailments like asthma or emphysema.

-Especially following days or weeks of smoke exposure, increased short-term likelihood of getting a cold or having similar symptoms of less effective immune responses.

-If symptoms persist or are severe, contact your primary health care provider.


What to do if smoke is affecting you and your family

-There are a few simple actions you should consider that can minimize exposure to smoke that makes its way into a community. The extent of the precautions you take should reflect how heavy the smoke is, how long it lasts, and your household's risk as described above.

-If you smell smoke and/or are beginning to experience symptoms, consider temporarily locating to another area as long as it is safe for you to do so.

-Close windows and doors and stay indoors. However, do not close up your home tightly if it makes it dangerously warm inside.

-Only if they are filtered, run the air conditioning, the fan feature on your home heating system (with the heat turned off) or your evaporative cooler. Keep the outdoor air intake closed and be sure the filter is clean. Filtered air typically has less smoke than the air outdoors. Running these appliances if they are not filtered can make indoor smoke worse.

-If you have any HEPA room air filtration units, use them.

-In smoky air reduce your physical activity level.

-Give extra attention to the things that help keep a person healthy at any time. Make healthy eating choices, drink plenty of fluid, get ample sleep, and exercise in clean air.

-Avoid smoking secondhand smoke, vacuuming, candles and other sources of additional air pollution.

-Commercially available dust masks may seem like a good idea, but they do virtually nothing to filter out the particles and gasses in smoke.