Health Impacts from poor air quality

Published: Nov. 17, 2023 at 12:21 AM EST
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HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) -The smoke from the Matt’s Creek Fire made its way through many parts of the valley.

Dr. Kristin Hom, Pulmonologist for Sentara RMH Medical Center said the primary health impacts you could see will be respiratory is nature.

While being in poor air quality can impact anyone’s health, Dr. Hom said, those at higher risk are children, the elderly population, and individuals with chronic health conditions.

“For those people who are at a higher risk what they can do is first check every day for air quality, if the air quality is poor that day, they can take precautions that day,” said Dr. Hom.

Dr. Hom said short-term exposure to poor air quality can increase symptoms for chronic lung diseases. If you work outside often, or are at a higher risk, it is recommended that you wear a mask.

”They can use masks but not any type of mask. The fabric masks or surgical masks are not good enough the particulate matter is too small and can get though what they need is an N-95 mask,” said Dr. Hom.

If you use a rescue inhaler, while you should always it with you, Dr. Hom said it is imperative that you have with you at all times, especially if you are outside in the poor air quality.

“Especially if they start to have increased symptoms with the poor air quality,” said Dr. Hom. If you like to go running or hiking, Dr. Hom recommends opting for an indoor workout.