Creek Fire: More Valley kids experiencing respiratory issues since wildfire started

Doctors said you should seek medical attention if your breathing issues persist, even after you take your medicines or inhalers.
FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- The Central Valley was already home to one of the dirtiest air basins in America.

Add to that smoke from the Creek Fire and SQF Complex Fires and you have people struggling to catch their breath.

Rebecca Magdaleno of Selma said she was 'having trouble breathing'.

"I used a nebulizer. I feel like a fish without air. I can't catch my air or breathe," she said.

Younger patients were feeling it as well.

Valley Children's Hospital in Madera County has been busy these past two weeks with many parents taking in their kids because of respiratory issues.

Pediatric pulmonologist Dr. Lauro Roberto said, "We've noticed that there are a lot more patients who are coming in with unexplained coughing suddenly and we tell them, 'Well it's not just maybe you're having new symptoms. But maybe it's because you're more exposed to a lot of pollutants'."

Dr. Roberto said it was important families take note of the daily Air Quality Index. But he admitted, lately, people haven't needed official readings.

Dr. Roberto explained, "You can just look out the window or even smell it when you go outside, you can really tell. You feel like you're in a small BBQ cooker, being smoked. You really can tell how bad the air quality has been."

He added people need to wear N95 masks if they leave their home. "If you have to be outside, a regular mask or even just a bandanna is not enough."

Fresno allergist Dr. Praveen Buddiga saw a surge of new patients, both young and old, this week. He said they were all feeling the ill effects of the Creek Fire.

Dr. Buddiga said, "Patients with difficulty breathing, shortness of breath, even those who haven't had respiratory problems in the past have been coming in over the past couple of days."

And now more of them were being prescribed rescue inhalers.

Doctors said you should seek medical attention if your breathing issues persist, even after you take your medicines or inhalers.
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