Unhealthy air in Colorado from smoke

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COLORADO – Coloradans are encouraged to limit time outdoors because of the poor air quality from smoky haze.

Along with the thick blanket of smoke on Wednesday, FOX 21 viewers even sent in pictures of ash falling in Colorado Springs and other areas along the Front Range.

As fires continue burning the question on many minds is how is this unhealthy air affecting us?

Kate O’Dell is researching the health impacts of wildfire smoke, including the impacts on cardiovascular health as well as the long-term impacts from breathing in this unhealthy air.

“The main concern healthwise with wildfire smoke is the particles, the particulate matter called pm 2.5, which are these really tiny particles. And because they’re so small they can get really deep into your lungs and your respiratory system and cause these problems,” said O’Dell.

“One of the things we do know is wildfire smoke impacts your respiratory health,” O’Dell added. “We’ll see increases in people going to the doctor for asthma-related issues, people also complain about wheezing or eye irritation.”

Using a HEPA air filter at home traps those small particles you don’t want to breathe in. Also wearing an N-95 mask when help.

The CDC recently warned that wildfire smoke can make you more prone to lung infections, including the virus that causes COVID-19.

“The symptoms can manifest similarly. Coughs, shortness of breath, difficulty breathing. Poor air quality also some of the early symptoms of COVID as well. If it is a respitory issue from the poor air quality you should continue to stay indoors, not exert yourself,” said Governor Jared Polis.

Smoke is partly from the Cameron Peak Fire but also from the Mullen Fire in southern Wyoming. A shift in winds Wednesday caused the smoke to travel southeast. Crews working the Cameron Peak Fire say new growth is causing smoke columns to billow up. An additional 100 personnel have arrived to help containment efforts.

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