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Home arrow News arrow Local News arrow Smoke conditions bring negative health effects

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Smoke conditions bring negative health effects

Skies around La Grande were hazy from wildfires Monday. (Kelly Ducote/The Observer)
Skies around La Grande were hazy from wildfires Monday. (Kelly Ducote/The Observer)
Skies around La Grande are clearer today than they have been, but people are still encouraged to monitor the air quality and take caution if conditions worsen.

The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality on Monday urged residents in Union and Wallowa counties to take measures to protect themselves against unhealthy smoke in the air.

Smoke forecasts predict a clearer Wednesday, but smoke could return by Thursday.

“Remember, local smoke levels can rise and fall rapidly depending on weather factors, including wind direction,” the DEQ press release said.

Grande Ronde Hospital ER Dr. Steve McIlmoil said smoky conditions can cause those with respiratory problems to head to the hospital for more frequent breathing treatments.

“We haven’t seen a large influx of those type of people into the ER,” he said Tuesday.

McIlmoil said people with asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease are at risk for exacerbated symptoms. The doctor said there are simple ways to help mitigate the effects of smoke.

“If they have air filters, they can filter out the particulates in the air,” McIlmoil said. “That can really help.”

McIlmoil said that even those who don’t usually have respiratory problems may have trouble breathing when the air quality is poor.

“Anytime you breathe in something that can be an irritant into your lungs...it can have an effect,” he said.

For the complete story, see Wednesday's edition of The Observer. 

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