HEALTH

Utah’s smoky air is burning our lungs

Jul 12, 2021, 9:14 AM | Updated: 10:53 am
smokey air...
The sun rises above hazy skies in Salt Lake City July 12, 2021 (Colby Walker)
(Colby Walker)

SALT LAKE CITY —  The yellow-gray sky and smokey air is not only unpleasant to look at, it’s also unhealthy to breathe.

Dr. Dixie Harris, a pulmonologist with Intermountain Health Care, told KSL 5 TV the combination of hot temperatures and high ozone levels is burning our lungs.

“There’s also a lot of ash and debris in the smoke,” said Dr. Harris. “It’s all coming into your lungs, that your lungs are trying to get rid of.”

Where’s the smokey air coming from?

Meteorologist, Grant Weyman, said most of the smoke is coming from two massive wildfires — one in Oregon and another in California.  And it will most likely get worse before it gets better in the next few days.  That’s because the smoke is blowing in from winds higher up in the atmosphere.

Sunrise over the Wasatch Mountains, taken from West Jordan. Colored red by the smoke from Oregon wildfires. (Heather Kelly)

Currently, the air quality across Northern Utah is listed as unhealthy for sensitive groups. So, people with heart disease, asthma and heart conditions need to be very careful.  But Dr. Harris warned “people who had COVID-19, even if they weren’t in the hospital, can have some lung damage they might not be aware of.”

Doctors are warning against doing any type of strenuous exercise outside.  Even those with healthy lungs are being advised not to go outside and expose your lungs to the smokey air.

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Utah’s smoky air is burning our lungs