South Georgians adjust to smoke from wildfires - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

South Georgians adjust to smoke from wildfires

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Many of you awoke to smoke from wildfires and you can expect the same Friday.

Parts of our area have been seeing smoke from southeast Georgia wildfires for months.

A lot of people are even changing their routines in the morning when the smoke is at its worst.

Public health officials say it can be especially dangerous for people with chronic illnesses.

Hazy mornings are what we've become accustomed to in Valdosta and much of our viewing area. Some people tell us they are even changing their morning routines.

"It definitely stops me from cutting my lawn in the morning," said J.C. Cunningham of Valdosta. "It's just too thick and I don't need to be fighting that right now."

Those wildfires are the cause of all this smoke.

"I get up between 5:30 and six and it's just terrible," said Cunningham.

When the smoke is bad, you're urged to stay inside.

Health officials say one of the ways you can protect yourself from smoke is to shut your doors and windows.

The smoke is a mixture of gases and particles from burning trees and plants. Health officials say it can hurt your eyes and irritate your respiratory system.

"When I go to class the smoke is disturbing," said Kameron Copeland.

"I've been cutting my yard in the evening when the smoke has died down some," said Cunningham.

While we don't know how long those wildfires will last, folks are making adjustments and hoping for rain.

Health offiicals say to relieve dryness in your throat you can breath through a warm wet wash cloth.

 

The Southeast Health District and your local health department ask residents to take

necessary precautions to avoid health problems related to the smoky conditions

caused by the current wildfire.

Smoke from wildfires is a mixture of gases and fine particles from burning trees and

other plant materials. Smoke can hurt your eyes, irritate your respiratory system

and worsen chronic heart and lung diseases.

Smoke can cause:

„h Coughing

„h A scratchy throat

„h Irritated sinuses

„h Shortness of breath

„h Chest pain

„h Headaches

„h Stinging eyes

„h A runny nose

If you have heart or lung disease, smoke might make your symptoms worse.

People who have heart disease might experience:

„h Chest pain

„h Rapid heartbeat

„h Shortness of breath

„h Fatigue

Smoke may worsen symptoms for people who have pre-existing respiratory

conditions, such as respiratory allergies, asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary

disease (COPD), in the following ways:

„h Inability to breathe normally

„h Cough with or without mucus

„h Chest discomfort

„h Wheezing and shortness of breath

When smoke levels are high enough, even healthy people may experience some of

these symptoms.

Know whether you are at risk

Those at risk include:

„h If you have heart or lung disease, such as congestive heart failure, angina,

COPD, emphysema, or asthma, you are at higher risk of having health

problems than healthy people.

„h Older adults are more likely to be affected by smoke, possibly because they

are more likely to have heart or lung diseases than younger people.

„h Children are more likely to be affected by health threats from smoke because

their airways are still developing and because they breathe more air per

pound of body weight than adults. Children also are more likely to be active

outdoors.

Protect yourself

„h Stay inside with windows and doors shut.

„h Use the recycle or re-circulate mode on the air conditioner in your home or

car.

„h If you do not have an air conditioner and if it is too warm to stay inside with

the windows closed, seek shelter elsewhere.

„h Avoid cooking and vacuuming, which can increase pollutants indoors.

„h Avoid physical exertion.

„h Asthmatics should follow their asthma management plan.

„h Keep at least a five-day supply of medication on hand.

„h Contact your doctor if you have symptoms such as chest pain, chest

tightness, shortness of breath, or severe fatigue. This is important not only

for people with chronic lung or heart disease, but also for individuals who

have not been previously diagnosed with such illnesses. Smoke can "unmask"

or produce symptoms of such diseases.

„h Keep airways moist by drinking lots of water. Breathing through a warm, wet

washcloth can also help relieve dryness.

 


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How to tell if smoke is affecting you

Here's some information from the Southeast Health District:

Wildfires

Health Threat from Wildfire Smoke

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