Earlier this month, Glendale was hit with a 75-acre brush fire. For some locals, they only experienced the smoky air, while others feared for their homes. As all locals know, this will not be the first fire of the year as California gets hit with several forest fires and brush fires. While fires are obviously damaging to the nearby homes and land, they can also be damaging to our health. Here are a few tips on how to protect your family’s health during fire season:
Breathing in too much smoke can cause us sore throats, facial pain, and plugged, dry noses. When the smoke takes over our bodies, we are more susceptible to becoming ill since our bodies are working so hard against the smoke. Not only does smoke enter our lungs during a fire, but a mix of chemicals as well. The smoke and chemicals can affect the fragile lining of our sinuses, chest, and nose.
In the case of a big fire, all individuals should avoid the smoke as best as possible. This may mean having your children miss a few days of school, or for individuals to miss a day of work. If you must drive in these conditions, keep the vents and windows closed. Children especially should be kept out of the smoke since they intake more air than adults do due to taking deeper breaths.
It is also very important to drink a lot of water. Water will help clear the smoke chemicals from your body, as well as keep you hydrated in this very drying time. If you can get your hands on a filter mask, it is wise to use one. Many health care facilities make these masks available when the fire smoke is overwhelming. A wet wash cloth or towel can also be used, but may not be as efficient in filtering.
For sore throats, avoid using medications or cough suppressants. These will just mask the real problem. Instead, drink warm liquids, such as tea or broth. Breathe in the steam from a shower or hot bath, and sleep near to a humidifier and air filter.
It is wise to visit your doctor if your sore throat or any other symptoms persist. Many have experienced pneumonia and other bronchial diseases from the result of taking in too much smoke and chemicals. Stay healthy this fire season even if it means having to miss work or a child’s soccer game. Your health comes first.