Oakhurst doctor sees an increase in patients with a variety of respiratory problems from Ferguson Fire

OAKHURST, Calif. (KFSN) -- For nearly two weeks now smoke from the Ferguson Fire has been drifting out to the Valley and Foothills.

At the same time, high pressure and a strong inversion layer is trapping that smoke over towns like Oakhurst.

"A lot of our patients with known respiratory problems who live in the area are very much aware that is it is not good to breathe the air when the air is thick with smoke," said Dr. Daniel O'Meara, Kaiser Physician.

Dr. O'Meara is a physician for Kaiser's Medical Office in Oakhurst. He's seen an increase of patients coming in for respiratory issues by 10 to 20%.

One of those patients is George Sitts; he decided to see a doctor when he could see and smell the smoke right outside his Oakhurst home.

"From my house, I can kind of judge it. Do I have half mile visibility or do I have 20-mile visibility? And there were a couple of days this week where it was pretty bad," said Sitts.

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Sitts is just one of the many patients who has experienced shortness of breath, tight chest pains or coughing.

Dr. O'Meara says the bad air doesn't play favorites to anyone, as the fire continues to burn everyone needs to keep an eye on their health.

"A lot of people who don't even have underline respiratory problems are having enough reaction to the air that we are offering medication to open up the airways," said Dr. O'Meara.

He added it is best to stay indoors with air conditioning and to limit outdoor activities.
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