Wildland Smoke Dangers

Wildfire smoke is a mixture of gases and fine particles from burning trees and other plant materials. This smoke can hurt your eyes, irritate your respiratory system, and worsen chronic heart and lung diseases.

Breathing in smoke can have immediate health effects, including:

  • ·       Coughing
  • ·       Trouble breathing normally
  • ·       Stinging eyes
  • ·       A scratchy throat
  • ·       Runny nose
  • ·       Irritated sinuses
  • ·       Wheezing and shortness of breath
  • ·       Chest pain
  • ·       Headaches
  • ·       An asthma attack
  • ·       Tiredness
  • ·       Fast heartbeat

Older adults, pregnant women, children, and people with preexisting respiratory and heart conditions may be more likely to get sick if they breathe in wildfire smoke.

Who is at greatest risk from wildfire smoke?

o   People who have heart or lung diseases, like heart disease, chest pain, lung disease, or asthma, are at higher risk from wildfire smoke.

o   Older adults are more likely to be affected by smoke. This may be due to their increased risk of heart and lung diseases.

o   Children are more likely to be affected by health threats from smoke. Children’s airways are still developing and they breathe more air per pound of body weight than adults. Also, children often spend more time outdoors engaged in activity and play.

Do not rely on dust masks for protection. Paper “comfort” or “dust” masks commonly found at hardware stores are designed to trap large particles, such as sawdust. These masks will not protect your lungs from the small particles found in wildfire smoke.

For more information on wildfire safety, please go https://www.cdc.gov/disasters/wildfires/duringfire.html.