Doctors: Haze from wildfires could cause respiratory issues for some Kansans

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WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – Haze from the wildfires in California have made their way to Kansas and doctors said it could impact those with underlying respiratory issues.

“The fires have been massive, and the wind has definitely traveled taking this smoke and particles all across the country,” said Dr. Raid Abu-Awwad, a pulmonologist at Ascension Via Christi.

If you have asthma, COPD, or any type of respiratory illness, you may have had to turn to your inhaler more frequently this week, and some doctors said they have seen an increase in patients renewing their nebulizers and inhalers.

The haze mixed with pollen could cause some issues for people according to doctors.

“The problem is sometimes you don’t actually have to see the smoke in order for it to affect you,” said Dr. Raid Abu-Awwad. “So, these are fine particles, something that is not visible to the naked eye.”

Doctors recommend avoiding outdoor activities this weekend continue taking some of the precautions many of us have gotten used to this year.

“If the air quality is bad, just take extra precautions,” said Dr. Raid Abu-Awwad. “Avoid going outside and wear a mask if possible to avoid these particles from getting in your lungs and causing a flare-up of your underlying disease.”

Environmental experts with the City of Wichita said not to worry, this haze won’t last forever.

“Air quality has a lot of moving parts including weather,” said Alejandro Arias-Esparza, environmental management analyst. “So, at any time it could change. We advise people to keep track of it as much as possible.”

If you are experiencing burning eyes, a sore throat, cough, or difficulty breathing, visit your doctor.

“It might be wise to kind of avoid outdoors for the next few days until these wildfires are under control and the smoke is gone,” said Dr. Raid Abu-Awwad.

You can keep track of the air quality level by watching KSN’s Storm Track 3 Weather Team or through various applications that provide the data.

For more information about the city’s efforts to keep air quality at its best, click here.

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