Pocatello, ID. -- Multiple wildfires throughout central and southern Idaho are contributing to potentially dangerous air quality levels. “Anyone with respiratory problems such as asthma, emphysema, and bronchitis and also those with chronic heart disease need to carefully monitor their breathing and exposure,” said David Blakeman, MTD, RRT.
Blakeman directs the respiratory therapy program at Idaho State University and is a Leadership Council volunteer with the American Lung Association. “Even healthy people can be affected when air quality is poor,” Blakeman said. The Lung Association urges people with lung disease or respiratory problems to stay inside as much as possible - with doors, windows and fireplace dampers shut to avoid inhalation of smoke, ashes and other particulate matter in the air. When driving in a smoky area, keep windows and vents closed. Refrain from exercising outdoors, especially if you smell smoke or notice eye or throat irritation. Children are particularly susceptible because their respiratory systems are still developing and they breathe in more air (and more pollution) per pound of body mass than adults, so extra precaution should be taken for them. Those with existing respiratory problems should contact their physician immediately if symptoms become aggravated by smoke. Asthma patients can follow their existing asthma action plan developed with their physician. All people in close proximity to smoke should follow these same precautions to avoid potential health effects such as coughing, tightness in the chest, and eye and throat irritation. ### About the American Lung Association in Idaho The American Lung Association in Idaho is non-profit, voluntary public health organization dedicated to fighting lung disease and promoting lung health in Idaho. Our programs focus on the areas of asthma, clean air, tobacco prevention, and lung disease. For more information about the American Lung Association in Idaho or to support the work it does, call (208) 345-5864 or visit www.lungidaho.org.