Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Acrid Smoke From Raging Wildfires Hazardous To Those With Lung, Heart Diseases, National Jewish Physician Says

Date:
June 16, 2000
Source:
National Jewish Medical And Research Center
Summary:
The winds that fan the flames of summertime wildfires also can distribute large plumes of thick smoke miles from the actual fire, causing lung and heart problems for those with chronic health problems.

DENVER-The winds that fan the flames of summertime wildfires also can distribute large plumes of thick smoke miles from the actual fire, causing lung and heart problems for those with chronic health problems.

Related Articles


“People closest to the fires are most at risk. That’s why individuals living and working in Los Alamos and local Colorado communities near Bailey were evacuated,” explains Lisa Maier, M.D., a physician in the Division of Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences at National Jewish Medical and Research Center.

But even those miles from a fire can suffer from health problems after inhaling particulates—microscopic pieces of ash or burned wood—found in wildfire smoke.

“The smaller particulates are going to be carried downwind,” she says. “Breathing the smoke will cause respiratory irritation, similar to that caused by air pollution.”

Symptoms of smoke inhalation—which can be present minutes after exposure—include irritation or a burning sensation in the airways and throat, and redness of the eyes, nose and throat. Inhaling smoke can trigger extreme physical reactions, such as headaches, dizziness, and burns, both internal and external. A healthcare provider should observe a person affected by smoke inhalation for at least 24 hours.

A person in the midst of a wildfire may have acute exposure to carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide, gases created as a fire burns. If inhaled in large amounts, these gases can actually replace oxygen in the blood. “Effectively, you don’t have oxygen in your blood stream to supply the body’s organs,” she says.

People with respiratory diseases such as asthma, emphysema and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease risk worsening symptoms when exposed to smoke from brush and forest fires. Those with underlying heart conditions, children and the elderly are at risk as well.

Preventing or limiting exposure to smoke is the best protection. If at all possible, people with respiratory and heart diseases should: ? stay indoors with windows closed, if safe; and ? take medications prescribed by your physician to control the disease.

But if authorities tell you to leave the area, do so. “If it’s recommended that you evacuate, evacuate,” Dr. Maier says. “You can be asked to evacuate not only because of the fire risks, but because the smoke is hazardous, too.”

Besides containing carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide, smoke may contain gases from manmade and natural products such as carpeting, plastics, wood, cotton and wool. Each is a potential health hazard to those with lung or heart diseases.

Long-term exposure to smoke may result in an asthma-like disease. “But if you’re miles downwind, the effects are probably reversible. If you have any doubt or questions about your condition, see your doctor,” Dr. Maier says.

People who do not have an underlying lung or heart condition most likely will experience irritant effects only—such as, burning eyes, dry throat and cough.

For more information about respiratory diseases and smoke inhalation, call LUNG LINE, (800) 222-LUNG, or e-mail, lungline@njc.org.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by National Jewish Medical And Research Center. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

National Jewish Medical And Research Center. "Acrid Smoke From Raging Wildfires Hazardous To Those With Lung, Heart Diseases, National Jewish Physician Says." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 16 June 2000. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2000/06/000615140449.htm>.
National Jewish Medical And Research Center. (2000, June 16). Acrid Smoke From Raging Wildfires Hazardous To Those With Lung, Heart Diseases, National Jewish Physician Says. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2000/06/000615140449.htm
National Jewish Medical And Research Center. "Acrid Smoke From Raging Wildfires Hazardous To Those With Lung, Heart Diseases, National Jewish Physician Says." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2000/06/000615140449.htm (accessed November 20, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Earth & Climate News

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Nations Pledge $9.3 Bn for Green Climate Fund

Nations Pledge $9.3 Bn for Green Climate Fund

AFP (Nov. 20, 2014) Nations meeting in Berlin pledge $9.3 billion (7.4 bn euros) for a climate fund to help poor countries cut emissions and prepare for global warming, just shy of a $10bn target. Duration: 00:46 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
What's The Point Of Climate Conferences?

What's The Point Of Climate Conferences?

Newsy (Nov. 20, 2014) There's optimism about the U.N.'s climate conference in Paris next year, and if climate conferences past are anything to go off, that's notable. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Mysterious Glow Worms Found in the Amazon

Mysterious Glow Worms Found in the Amazon

Buzz60 (Nov. 20, 2014) Wildlife photographer Jeff Cremer teamed up with entomologist Aaron Pomerantz and others to investigate a predatory glow worm found in the Amazon. Patrick Jones (@Patrick_E_Jones) explains. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
N.Y. Snowfall Renews Climate Change Discussion

N.Y. Snowfall Renews Climate Change Discussion

Newsy (Nov. 20, 2014) Record snowfalls in New York are helping to reinforce new climate catchphrases. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins