Health Tips for Smoke in Colorado Springs
Medical Authors: William W. Storms, M.D.Matthew S. Bowdish, M.D.
1. For people with any upper or lower respiratory problem (conjunctivitis, rhinitis, chronic sinusitis, asthma, bronchitis, or emphysema), the smoke from the fires is a significant irritant and can make all of these problems worse. Patients need to try to avoid the smoke as much as possible. This is difficult to do because it may mean driving to an area where there is no smoke (Pueblo, Denver, etc.). If they have friends or relatives they can stay with this might be a good idea. Short of that, avoiding the smoke means staying inside as much as possible with the windows closed. Have the furnace fan turned on so the air recirculates. For those who have air conditioning it is best to stay in an air conditioned building to avoid the smoke. This may even mean going to the mall and spending time there!
2. For people who have no respiratory problems, the smoke can be very irritating and may lead to some respiratory problems. These may take a few days or a week to develop. You may see patients coming into your office with conjunctivitis, rhinitis, sinusitis, bronchitis, sore throats, etc. and the irritating smoke is the cause.
3. There is no specific treatment that is effective against the smoke from the fires. Rather, all that we can do is to treat whatever condition that they have. Nasal saline spray seems to be quite helpful for rhinitis and sinusitis. If lower chest symptoms are present then inhaled steroids or combination inhalers might be effective. For conjunctivitis, the allergy eye drops can help somewhat.