Pulmonologist from St. Vincent's Warns of Health Effects from Wildfire Smoke | Environment

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Pulmonologist from St. Vincent's Warns of Health Effects from Wildfire Smoke
Pulmonologist from St. Vincent's Warns of Health Effects from Wildfire Smoke

Phyisicans at St. Vincent's Medical Center are warning people about the health effects of the smoke from recent wildfires.  Doctors say they are seeing a rise in the number of patients complaining about irritation from smoke.

Pulmonologist Dr. Thomas Szwed, who works at St. Vincent's Medical Center, says people exercising outdoors may feel the effects.

“For people who do not have known lung disease, they need to be aware of their symptoms.  If they notice a lot of cough, chest tightness or wheezing, they should avoid that exercise and return to an air-conditioned, indoor facility if possible,” said Szwed.

Doctors say asthmatics should be checking their peak flows every morning to make sure their breathing is not deteriorating.

“If you have an inhaler and you work out outside, they should use their inhaler 10-15 minutes before exercise to get the bronchial tubes dilated,” said Szwed.

Szwed says people who have compromised health may want to consider staying indoors and limiting their exposure to the smoke.

“People who have underlying lung disease, which may include elderly people, need to be very careful when the smoke is higher,” said Szwed.

If you have questions about your symptoms, call HealthLink, a free confidential community nurse advice and physician referral service.  The team, consisting of registered nurses, can assist callers with medical information, as well as help locate a physician or specialist.  For more information, call 800-226-5465 or locally at 904-308-5465 (LINK). We are available for phone calls Monday-Friday 8:30 AM - 4:30 PM (EST).

 

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