Smoke from Central Texas fires could provoke chronic respiratory problems

The smoke from the recent wildfires in the area pose a respiratory threat to everyone but especially to people with chronic respiratory problems such as asthma, COPD and emphysema.  Since the soot and ash have filled the Central Texas atmosphere, you do not have to be close to the fires to experience symptoms.  This smoke and ash can be irritants to the nasal cavity as well as the respiratory system.

Here are some steps to follow to limit your exposure:

  • Stay indoors if you have a chronic respiratory condition.
  • For those with asthma and COPD, make sure to use your prescribed inhalers.
  • Exercise indoors.
  • When traveling by car, use the car air-conditioning. Circulate the air in the car. Do not roll down the windows.
  • Keep your home/work windows closed
  • Change your home air filters if you have not done so lately.
  • If you must be outside in the smokey environment, use a damp cloth to cover your nose and mouth.
  • Use a nasal saline irrigation throughout the day to help clear the nasal passages.
  • Pay close attention to your children if they have asthma. Their breathing problems can develop faster than adults.
  • Don’t forget your pets.  They can also suffer breathing problems from the smoke just like their owners.

Remember, the smoke can remain in the area for many days after the fires have ended.

Watch for symptoms of wheezing, shortness of breath, difficulty taking a full breath, painful breathing, chest heaviness, light headedness and dizziness. These can develop as long as 24 to 48 hours after exposure.   Call your physician or seek medical attention if these occur.