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Smell smoke? Stay inside to avoid illness

August 31, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
To avoid respiratory or other smoke-related symptoms doctors say to stay inside.Allergy and asthma sufferer Scott Adams went to school Monday morning feeling pretty lousy then his symptoms got worse.

"I am sneezing and coughing all the time and I just feel awful," said Adams.

"Most of the people will complain about itchy eyes, burning eyes and a burning nose. People will tell you that they feel like their lungs are on fire," said allergist Dr. Jacob Offenberger.

Dr. Offenberger says over the weekend, calls and visits into his Granada Hills practice have escalated.

The AQMD says the air quality in most of the San Fernando and San Gabriel Valleys ranges from unhealthy for sensitive people to unhealthy for everyone.

"There is no question that the air quality is going to be bad for at least the next week," said Dr. Offenberger.

Asthma and allergy symptoms tend to flare up during the night. Keep all your windows closed, run the air conditioner and get an air purifier with a certified HEPA filter and run it all day long.

"Run it on low during the nighttime and high during the day," said Dr. Offenberger.

Wash out your nose with saline water every morning and night.

"There is a spray and all types of devices you can use to lavage the nose," said Dr. Offenberger.

Stay indoors as much as possible. Scotty tried wearing a a face mask outdoors, but it didn't help. Dr. Offenberger says unless you work near the fires don't even bother with a mask.

"Overall unless we have heavy smoke going down the hill, like it usually does on a windy day, the benefit is limited. Try to stay in an area that is smoke-free," said Dr. Offenberger.

Scotty got a rescue inhaler just in case. He's hoping he won't have to use it.

You can check the air quality in your neighborhood on AQMD's Web site, but you may have to be patient because of the demand on the site.

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