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Smoke worsens allergies
Every morning for the past week, I have awakened to an omnipresent campfire smell in the air and a hazy, smoky sky with limited visibility. Nearby forest fires are causing smoke to linger in our basin-like valley. For me, this means my allergies are worse but even some individuals who seldom have symptoms are suffering.
July brought wildfires to a large portion of the U.S. on the heels of a drier than normal winter. In fact, 2.01 millions acres were burned, the 4th worst on record. Many new fires have sprung up or are continuing to burn in August. Every day I keep wishing for relief but it may take until October with its cooler temperatures and rainfall to extinguish the fires and clear the air.
For me, the lingering smoke has irritated my sinuses, eyes and throat. I have a persistent headache from my irritated sinuses. Up until recently, my allergies had been more or less under control, and I hadn’t experienced any sinus problems in a year. Others, like my family members and acquaintances, are experiencing coughing, shortness of breath, headaches, and runny nose.
The smoke is the culprit in everyone’s suffering. It contains particulates, a mixture of gases and fine particles from burning vegetation, which can hurt the eyes and irritate respiratory passages. In some cases, the smoke may worsen pre-existing conditions, such as respiratory allergies and asthma.
Part of my problem is I insist on going outdoors to exercise myself and my dogs. Unfortunately, the only way to reduce symptoms is to avoid the smoke and haze as much as possible by staying indoors with the windows closed and the air conditioner on. Ignore your crazy local weather person who says to leave the windows open at night to enjoy the cool night air. Yes, it may be cooler at night but the air quality is still poor. If driving, keep the windows closed and the air conditioner on recirculation to avoid exposure.
Consider wearing a dust mask or covering the mouth or nose with a damp cloth if you must be out during heavy smoke periods. Switch your exercise sessions to indoors because exercise causes you to breathe more deeply and drive the particulates deeper into the respiratory system.
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