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Allergists seeing increase in patients due to smoky air

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Posted at 5:49 PM, Aug 19, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-20 00:10:17-04

Much of San Luis Obispo County is listed in the unhealthy category when it comes to air quality.

"I would say the air quality is really poor," said Dani Burg, Director of Little Wings Preschool. "It's hard to breathe and walk around."

Little Wings Preschool in Atascadero was advised to keep children inside for the day.

"We recently turned our whole program into an outdoor program because of COVID for better airflow and then now we're changing everything back inside because of the air quality," Burg explained.

Local allergists say they've seen a recent increase in patients with all this drift smoke.

"There's fine particulate when there's smoke and also toxins from the fumes that are direct irritants and so people with asthma and respiratory diseases are more susceptible to this," explained Dr. Janet Kershaw-McLennan who is a local Allergist-Immunologist.

Dr. Kershaw-McLennan recommends the following to ease eye irritation, a burning throat, and shortness of breath:

"Stay indoors as much as possible, to close the windows, run their air conditioning units if they can, if they have them," she explained.

Dr. Robert Holzhauer, Allergist with the Allergy Partners of the California Central Coast, adds that if AC isn't an option…

"Some of our patients have air purifiers and they will help with smoke as well as other particles in the air," he said.

"We did have some kiddos with high needs like asthma and things like that that didn't even come to school today but we've definitely been switching it up," Burg added. "I would say it's been hardest on the kids with special needs because their whole routine is upside down right now."

The Santa Barbara County Air Pollution Control District says the air quality for Wednesday and Thursday is expected to be moderate for the entire region.

Check the air quality in your area:
San Luis Obispo County Air Pollution Control District
Santa Barbara County Air Pollution Control District