Allergies, asthma, and wildfire smoke – The perfect storm for asthma and allergy sufferers


PAWNEE COUNTY, Kan. (KSNW) – The heavy smoke in the air came at the worst time for people struggling with allergies and asthma. 

Ragweed, corn, milo, numerous crops, plants, and weeds are pollinating right now. Add in the smoke from the western wildfires and the conditions can be unbearable for those that suffer from allergies and asthma.

“I feel miserable,” said Kade Scott, southwest Kansas farmer. “In the morning that’s when it’s the worst because that’s when you don’t really want to go get the day started because you feel so miserable.”

According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, hospitalizations related to asthma spike in September. The third week of the month, known as peak week, is the worst.

Sneezing, burning-watery eyes, fatigue, headache, and difficulty breathing are all symptoms common to feel during peak week.

“I just had like terrible sinus pressure. I had a headache, super, super tired, very achy. It’s the worst my allergies have ever been. For sure,” said Josefiak.

Those symptoms now worsened due to the air quality as smoke from western fires fill the air, creating a thick haze and making it even more difficult to breathe.

“I can definitely say that I noticed it a lot more yesterday and today than I have in days prior,” said Kayle Josefiak, Southwest Kansas Allergy Sufferer.

But there’s yet another factor, one making this year’s peak week even more of a concern, COVID.

“I went up and got tested, it was negative, and it came back that it was just allergies. They asked if I was allergic to ragweed or corn because those are the two worst right now, and I am allergic to both,” said Josefiak.

Both Scott and Josefiak say their allergies have been worse this year than year’s past and with this year’s added factors, their symptoms have been more severe.

The smoke levels are higher in the western part of the state and expected to stick around, and allergy season is still at it’s height.

Doctors suggest if you are having a difficult time breathing and your emergency inhaler or allergy medications have not provided you relief, contact your nearest medical provider.


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