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AURORA, Colo. (KDVR) — With a 32-day stretch of poor air quality in the metro area, the Problem Solvers are looking into what possible effects this could have on our health currently and in the future.

Dr. Katie Sprinkel is the associate director of the Medical Center of Aurora’s emergency room. She said poor air quality is starting to cause problems for people visiting the ER.

“I think people mostly who already have some sort of lung disease like asthma or COPD or emphysema are struggling the most, so that is certainly who we are seeing the most,” Sprinkel said. “Inflammation in the airways in general is the theme we are seeing.”

While there is some overlap in symptoms with air quality impact and COVID-19, Sprinkel said people should be able to tell a difference.

“The air quality may irritate your throat a bit. It will definitely cause you to cough and feel short of breath. It can even give some folks headaches, but fever body aches is much more of a COVID symptom,” Sprinkel said.

With this weekend’s forecast projecting even worse air quality, Sprinkel said ordinarily active, healthy people may notice a struggle trying to exercise outdoors.

“Anticipate it could be an issue, and have a backup plan indoors, unfortunately,” Sprinkel said.

Sprinkel said extended poor air quality exposure could cause long term issues for those fighting to gain control over their current lung diseases.