How smoky air can impact your health

September 21, 2022

How smoky air can impact your health

As wildfire smoke moved back into much of the Puget Sound region, UW Medicine pulmonologist Dr. Cora Sack said its health effects can range from bothersome to serious.

"A lot of people might be experiencing the irritating effects of smoke, and that's usually eye irritation and scratchy throat, maybe a little bit of headache or nasal stuffiness. And those symptoms can be bothersome. They're usually not dangerous, but it means maybe trying to go somewhere with cleaner air," Sack said. "If you start experience anything like shortness of breath, wheezing, worsening cough or feeling like your heart's racing or chest pain, those are symptoms that there may be something more serious going on and should prompt you again to go seek cleaner air and call your doctor's office."

Wildfire smoke can contain hazardous chemicals and gases that carry carcinogens such as formaldehyde and acrolein.

Find more health resources on wildfire smoke through the Washington State Department of Health.

Download broadcast-ready soundbites with Dr. Cora Sack.

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