Even distant wildfires pose health risk, officials say
SALT LAKE CITY — Health officials say fires can do a number on your health. What may look like haze or fog could, in fact, be smoke from fires hundreds of miles away. And the debris in the smoke is causing eye, nose and throat irritation in people across the state, along with increased risk for death, according to the American Lung Association.
The Environmental Protection Agency says the threat is even worse in Utah because it already has some of the poorest air quality in the nation. The mountains trap smoke from wildfires in the valleys and add to the other pollution in the air.
The air is dense with wildfire particles smaller than a grain of sand or the width of a single hair. These specks can irritate your eyes, nose and throat; or, lodge in your lungs when deeply inhaled.
Doctors advise anyone at risk for heart attack or asthma, the very young or old, and pregnant women to take precautions while smoke from wildfires continues to travel into the state. Wear a respiration mask when outdoors or better yet, stay indoors, keep your doors and windows closed and keep air conditioners on re-circulate to reduce the chance of inhaling toxins and debris.
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