Mohave County, AZ. The Mohave County Department of Public Health (MCDPH) is issuing information on the health effects of smoke from the wildfires in the Mohave County, Topock areas. Not everyone who is exposed to thick smoke will have health problems. Level, extent and duration of exposure, age, individual susceptibility and other factors play a significant role in determining whether or not someone will experience smoke-related health problems. The most common examples of health problems includes: itchy eyes, cough, runny nose and upper airway irritation and are typical symptoms of short-term exposure to smoke. Other potential health effects include headache, dizziness and nausea to more serious disorders, including asthma, bronchitis, and reduced lung function.
It is recommended for a person to contact their private physician if experiencing problems. Those who may experience complications include:
individuals with asthma and other respiratory diseases – levels of pollutants which may not interfere with normal breathing affect people with asthma causing greater inflammation or constriction of airways individuals with cardiovascular disease
the elderly – the elderly seem to be more affected than other age groups because we lose important respiratory defense mechanisms as we age.
children – even those without any preexisting conditions are considered a sensitive population because their lungs are still developing, making them more susceptible to environmental threats than healthy adults.
smokers – people who smoke have already compromised their lung function and exposure to high levels of particulate can exacerbate their condition. The following specific strategies may reduce risk of health related incidents from wildfire smoke:
Staying inside can usually reduce air pollution by about a third. Close windows and doors and, if necessary, run air conditioners.
Air cleaners can be effective at reducing indoor particulate levels. Children – outside sports – Limit prolonged exertion.
Outside pets – follow above recommendations, refer to vet if increased symptoms. If increased respiratory or other symptoms – seek medical attention.
Reduction of physical activity reduces the dose of inhaled air pollutants and may reduce the risk of health impacts during a smoke event. Reduction of physical activity reduces the dose of inhaled air pollutants, and may reduce the risk of health impacts during a smoke event. During exercise, people may increase their air intake as much as ten times their resting level. While exercising, people tend to breathe through their mouths, bypassing the natural filtering ability of the nasal passages. They also tend to breathe more deeply, causing particulates to lodge deeper into the lungs.
Again, if you experience breathing or other complications, contact your physician.For a Wildfire Smoke Fact Sheet, please visit www.HealthELinks.com