Pacific Coast wildfires affecting air quality in Colorado Springs

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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — Colorado Springs’ air has been infected with pollutants from the fires on the Pacific Coast, diminishing our air quality.

“It’s almost more hazier in the morning and when the sun’s out and I’ve noticed it’s really started to react to my allergies,” said Amber Bonenfant, a parent.

“We were working out at the park and my chest tightened up mid-workout. And I didn’t think too much of it. It just really hurt,” said Mitch Klomp, a student at UCCS.

These are just some of the side effects of poor air quality, and it can be worse for those heavily affected, like the elderly and the very young, including those with respiratory problems.

Experts said breathing in pollutants can cause inflammation of the airways, coughing, sneezing and shortness of breath.

“it’s amazing what the wind will do and the different things the wind carries. They can blow hundreds of miles,” said Eric Caplan, M.D., asthma specialist and physician with Colorado Springs Allergy and Asthma Clinic.

To counteract the effects, experts recommend limiting your time outdoors and moving your outdoor exercises inside.

“Rather than exposing your lungs to the air quality that we’re seeing today,” Caplan said.

And even if you don’t suffer from allergies or have respiratory problems, you’re still not 100 percent in the clear.

“You don’t have to be allergic sometimes to things like air quality. Certainly people aren’t allergic to the smoke but it can cause irritation for the eyes and the nose,” Caplan said.

For those symptoms, experts said saline rinses or saltwater eye drops can help flush out the irritants.

If you think you’re being affected, Caplan said it’s best to call your doctor as soon as possible rather than waiting for things to get worse.

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