ALBANY, GA (WALB) – Wildfire smoke can cause or aggravate health problems.
Health officials say if the smoke gets thick, people with respiratory problems like Asthma or Emphysema should stay indoors.
Health officials say something like a N-95 mask, can help a little in thick smoke from a wildfire, but they say the best thing to do is stay indoors, especially if you're very young or very old because they're at greatest risk.
This was the scene many awakened to or ran into on their way to work. Thick smoke from wildfires burning in Clinch County. For many it can hurt their eyes and irritate their respiratory system.
"When there's smoke in the air typically that means there's gas and dust particles and things like that could be dangerous to your health," said Brenda Greene R.N. and Deputy Director of the Southwest Georgia Health District.
Causing symptoms like coughing, a scratchy throat, shortness of breath, headaches or a runny nose. Health officials suggest staying inside and if you're stuck in the car re-circulating the air.
"Our air conditioners have the ability to circulate fresh air or recycled air and certainly if you can just recirculate that existing air instead of pulling in outside air will be helpful," said Greene.
Older adults with heart or lung disease can be more easily affected as well as young children.
"Their lungs are not as developed as they will be eventually so young children especially should avoid the smoke as well," said Greene.
It can also be harmful to your pets.
"Anything from the lack of oxygen in the air to the matter that's associated with the fire can develop or cause pneumonia or edema in dogs and cats," said Dr. Steve Whatley of Bush Animal Clinic.
A cat will develop asthma more easily than a dog, which is why Vets recommend bringing all pets indoors during times of heavy smoke or providing a place like a garage with decent ventilation so they can get some fresh air as well.
Health officials recommend if you are kept indoors by smoke avoid cooking and vacuuming which can increase pollutants indoors.
Health officials say people with respiratory conditions such as asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease might experience breathing problems, chest discomfort, coughing, or wheezing in smoky conditions.