Most Valley athletic events continue Friday despite poor air quality

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Fire season usually means a layer of smoke sitting in the Central Valley.

The air quality was so bad and unhealthy this week, Clovis Unified School District canceled Friday's elementary school sporting events.

Clovis, all other area high schools and Fresno State continued with their regular athletic schedules.

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Action News spoke with Dr. Praveen Buddiga about health concerns. He is an allergy and immunology specialist who says his office has seen more patients complaining of trouble breathing for the past couple of weeks.

"We've seen a significant increase this week based on the bad air quality due to fires," said Buddiga.

He added that athletes are especially at risk.

"They're breathing in particulate matter -- really small particles of the ash and remnants of tree particles due to the fires," said Buddiga.

Russ Richardson with American Ambulance says from an Emergency Medical Services perspective, the air quality is not as bad as it has been in the past.

"We haven't seen an uptick in calls for service based on air quality but that could be because we're responding a lot to COVID and pandemic-related medical needs," said Richardson.
American Ambulance paramedics are on the field of most Fresno-area high school athletic games.

Richardson said when the air quality is exceptionally poor, they usually see an increase in shortness of breath cases. But said he did not notice that Friday.

"In my history, it was much worse last year during the Creek Fire so today is really not as bad as I've seen it in the past," he said.

Dr. Buddiga advises that anytime the air quality is so bad you can smell it in the air, it's best to just stay inside.

He also had some helpful tips:

  • Keep a HEPA air purifier in your home, especially in children's bedrooms.
  • Shower at night before bed, it will wash away any ash or harmful particles you might have picked up.
  • Keep windows closed at night.
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