Smoked-filled skies, exercise don’t mix, doctors say

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LARIMER COUNTY, Colo. -- The High Park Fire is sending smoke and dust particles across the state, enough to make some people sick.

In response, the Colorado Department of Health has issued a health advisory stretching southward to El Paso County.

Doctors at National Jewish Health say a number of patients have called in to report burning eyes, coughing and stinging noses.

“Our lungs aren’t accustomed to breathing in all that heavy particulate matter. Now you’ve got it from the fire all this particulate from this fire gaseous material and particulates that go down the airway and causes a cough because it’s irritating,” said Dr. Rohit Katial, an allergy immunologist at National Jewish Health.

Experts say the symptoms can be worse for people with respiratory and cardiac disease. They also say the very young and the elderly need to be extra careful.

And this time, just avoiding the outdoors may not be enough.

“It’s better to not be overly aerobic. That’s going to force you to breathe harder have more air exchange, indoor and outdoor. People smell this smoke indoors, so that means particulate is getting indoors. Maybe just take it a little easier if you are a heavy exerciser,” Dr. Katial said.

We caught up with several people out for an afternoon jog at Washington Park, and some didn’t know about the health advisory.

“I’m a pretty healthy person, I don’t have any breathing problems, so it’s not problem with me,” said Jocelyn Essler. “But maybe someone with asthma it could be a bigger deal.”

“I notice it especially when I’m done. I start to cough,” Pat Cullinane said.  I tell you if I was in really bad smoke, I wouldn’t but here. We have a breeze, but if the smoke was pretty bad I wouldn’t.”

Click here for more tips on surviving the smoke.

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