SPOKANE, Wash --- There is a lot of smoke in the air from the wildfires, so how can breathing smoke affect your health?
“I think anyone should not be outside with this air quality. And it just really varies, different people have different severity of symptoms. But 10 to 15 minutes you should be fine,” said Chief of Allergy and Immunology Asthma Center at Rockwood Health, Dr. Cassandra Mahan-Richards.
"Babies and seniors are more susceptible so you can always take like a towel or something very thin. Wet it, and put it over their face and just minimize their exposure," said Mahan-Richards.
The dangerous part from the smoke in the air is prolonged exposure, but short periods of time outside are fine. If you are someone who has respiratory problems, you need to be more careful when breathing the smoky air.
Symptoms can be different for everyone.
“Symptoms vary, you can have irritated eyes, it could be nasal congestion, sneezing, a cough, a little tightness in the chest. If they’re asthmatic it can be an asthma attack,” said Mahan-Richards.
"If the symptoms are getting bad the first thing to do is go into the house and if you have some type of salt water nose spray, just run it through your nose get rid of all the soot out. Take a nice tall glass of water, about 8 ounces drink it just to try to cleanse your system to get the irritants out of your body. And change clothes jump in the shower, because that soot, the irritants are all over you," said Mahan-Richards.
Masks can help filter the air, but not all masks are created equal.
“Unfortunately, there's some of us that we have no choice we have to pay the bills so we are working outside a Hepa Air cleaner mask is amazing and you can get them for about ten dollars they are not that expensive," said Mahan-Richards.
Dust masks do not work as well though.
"The dust mask are better than nothing, even just a wet towel squeezed out put over your face or like a handkerchief, wet it squeeze it out and put it over your nose when you have nothing else,” said Mahan-Richards.