Montana Health News

Aug 29, 2012 12:42 PM by Dax VanFossen - KAJ News

Montana wildfire smoke poses health risks for some

KALISPELL- Smoke from large wildfires burning across the Pacific Northwest has been pouring into Montana, and while smoke conditions are moderate in Flathead County, even that low level a threat, can still cause problems for people with breathing ailments.

We spoke to a Kalispell pulmonologist who said that people with normal lungs shouldn't have much of a problem breathing in the current moderate conditions, but for people with asthma and other pulmonary issues, they may want to spend less and less time outside.

"Yeah, primarily people with asthma and COPD. Anytime there's a decrease in air quality. Either from air pollution or smoke or particulates in the air," Dr. Anthony Dal Nogare with the Rocky Mountain Heart and Lung Clinic cautioned.

The State of Montana was listing air quality for the Flathead Valley as moderate on Tuesday, but other areas of Western Montana are seeing much higher levels of smoke. The good news is that the current smoke is not from any fire burning in the area as most is from outside of Montana, but it is expected to linger for a while.

"Emergency Room visits tend to increase, hospitalizations increase. So in that situation the best thing to do is to avoid, exposure to bad air, and stay indoors basically," Dal Nogare explained.

He told us that advice is really for people with present breathing conditions, unless the air quality drops significantly, people with healthy lungs should be fine.

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