Hazy conditions from fires pose possible health problems

DENVER -- Somewhere beneath the thick layer of smoke hovering over the downtown Denver skyline are the picturesque Rocky Mountains and beautiful Colorado blue skies.

Wildfires burning in states across the western U.S. are fueling the smokiness along the Front Range.

Dr. David Beuther with Jewish Hospital doesn’t appreciate the change of scenery but is more concerned about what the smoke does to his patients.

“Worsening asthma respiratory symptoms. Irritation of the eyes and nose. Just a lot of general discomfort,” Beuther said.

Conditions on Thursday were serious enough to prompt the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment to issue an advisory about the lower air quality blanketing parts of the state.

An Action Day Alert is in effect through 4 p.m. Friday.

“Fine particles getting down deep in the lungs. We know that the smaller they are the further down they get down and they can really irritate and exacerbate and set off inflammation mucus coughing,” Beuther said.

He said the average healthy person will only suffer from obstructed views, but those who have respiratory issues are going to him for bronchitis, flare-ups of asthma and allergies.

Beuther recommends patients stay on medications and speak to a doctor about serious concerns. He also recommends that anyone sensitive to the smoke stay indoors and keep the windows shut.