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Health officials warn of respiratory issues connected to wildfire smoke

Posted at 8:24 PM, Jun 16, 2020

The Avila Fire filled the sky above Pismo Beach with heavy smoke on Monday, and medical officials are reminding residents about the dangers wildfire smoke can pose to your respiratory health.

They say if you can smell the smoke, it can also create health risks.

The small particles can cause irritation and it is important to take notice of your body when you can’t successfully perform the activities you normally could.

When this happens, they advise you to take action and contact your doctor.

"It’s the particles you can't see that are able to travel deep into your lungs. Your lungs are not meant to handle particulate matter such as that, so your body tries to protect itself and an inflammatory response occurs where there's some swelling and secretion of mucus to help flush your lungs out,” says Stephen Szabo, Cardio and Respiratory Service Director at Sierra Vista Regional Medical Center.

Szabo also says surgical-grade masks do not keep the wildfire smoke particles out of your lungs and the best practice is to just say home.