Medical Minute: California Wildfires & Smoke Impact
The impact from the wildfires in California is truly devastating for the state and the entire country. There are so many things from that series of fires that have immediate effects: death and injuries, loss of property, and more. One of the issues that will be plaguing that area for quite some time will be the amount of smoke into the air.
"The air quality will affect everyone in California, especially those areas closest to the fires," Brian Zeno, pulmonary and critical care physician for OhioHealth said. "Those who have underlying conditions already, like COPD and asthma could really see the impact from smoke in the air."
Here in central Ohio, California might seem like a world away. And while the air quality they are dealing with there, won't impact those living in the mid-west, it does bring to mind the impact smoke can have on the lungs.
"House fires can have a big impact on those who live in the home, or those that live nearby," Dr. Zeno said. "But if we want to take a broader look at smoke, smoking can really impact patients. First with the smoker, getting that into the lungs can have a long-term impact in the upper and lower respiratory tracts, but beyond the smoker, second-hand smoke can cause wheezing or coughing, and you can see breathing and lung issues like COPD."
There are other factors beyond smoking that can have a real impact on those with breathing issues. That includes environmental factors.
"Changes in the weather or other problems like vehicle emissions can be triggers for people who are already fighting things like asthma, or other lung issues," Dr. Zeno said. "For those people, it is very important to monitor changes in your community, and stay inside if the conditions get to the point where they impact you."