People with respiratory issues should limit outdoor activity

Those who have difficulty breathing due to asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or other respiratory issues should stay indoors as much as possible while smoke lingers in the air from area fires.

"If they have issues, the main thing is to limit exposure in any way possible," said Jeff Quinn, program director for the American Lung Association.

"If they have to go out, check the status of air quality and only go out in the early morning. The air is quiet and cooler, less interaction with the lungs."

The Linehan Complex fire has left smoke hanging in the air over Lyon and Storey counties as well as Carson City and Washoe County. Quinn said if a people have asthma or another respiratory illness and they don't typically carry an inhaler, they should.

"You never know what might happen," he said. "It depends on the individual. But with an asthmatic, the smoke will irritate the bronchial passage and start closure.

"The main issue, even for someone who is generally an exercise-induced or allergy-induced asthmatic, smoke could trigger an outbreak. Anyone should be careful, regardless of what has triggered them in the past."

Quinn said for those with emphysema, the concern is irritation of the bronchioles may reduce even more their ability to get oxygen. The portions of the lung which haven't been destroyed by emphysema will be affected more so by any stress put on the healthy tissue.

"It will just make you worse," Quinn said.

No information was available on air quality in the Carson area at press time. In Reno, the Washoe County District Health Department reported the air quality in the good to moderate range.

People at risk include the elderly, particularly persons age 65 and older with cardiopulmonary disease or asthma; children; those with cardiovascular disease; and smokers.

The health division recommends that people:

• Stay indoors as much as possible

• Use air conditioning and air filters

• Limit physical activity, especially outdoors

• Keep windows closed when in vehicles

• Listen to announcements from local emergency officials about evacuations and shelter locations

• Face masks are generally not recommended for exposure to wildfire smoke

• Persons with specific medical concerns or medical emergencies should contact their health-care provider or seek emergency treatment

• Do not let children play outdoors

• Use masks, such as those used for painting, to filter out smoke

• Those on oxygen who are having trouble breathing should turn up their oxygen

• People with asthma should make sure their rescue inhalers are readily available and have their asthma medication close at hand

• Those with air filters at home should make sure they are clean

Healthy people are not typically at major risk from exposure to smoke. However, it is a good idea to avoid it, whenever possible.

• Contact Rhonda Costa-Landers at or 881-1223.


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