Smoke from fires may cause health risks

June 17, 2013 12:00:00 AM PDT
A thick plume of smoke hangs over the Sierra Nevada. Dark clouds full of soot and particles are visible from the sky.

That has prompted the San Joaquin Valley air pollution district to issue a health caution to the Central Valley.

"The chemicals in the soot and ash can be very irritating to the bronchial tubes, eyes or any part of respiratory track. But also because you see these particles, its just like a mechanical irritation, it just goes and rubes and causes inflammation," said Dr. A.M. Aminian from the Allergy Institute.

Dr. A.M. Aminian at the Allergy Institute said even though the fires are burning in the Sierra and Madera County the particles can still reach the Valley floor in Fresno. The most sensitive groups include those with chronic or respiratory illnesses, as well young children and the elderly. Dr. Aminian says the most important thing for those groups is to keep their airways clear.

"Rinse their sinuses their nose to get the particles out. Remember these particles are larger particles and they stick to our hair to our clothes to our skin, so we have to get them out," said Aminian.

If you have trouble breathing Dr. Aminian said to contact your physician. Combined with the heat and smog these fires are creating an environment that can aggravate symptoms.

"Unfortunately we are not living in an area where the air can be ventilated easy so what comes here, stays here, so for days we're just going to be, even after the fires are out, we're going to be breathing in,"said Aminian.

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