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West coast wildfires impacting air quality in Kansas

Published: Sep. 18, 2020 at 8:55 PM CDT
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WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - The hundreds of wildfires out west has created a lot of smoke that’s blowing through the air. That smoke has filtered into our skies in Kansas.

A map from AirNow.gov shows air quality around the country. Green means the air is okay. Red, which can be seen covering much of Oregon and Washington, means the air is unhealthy. And yellow, which is what is covering much of the midwest, is considered moderate.

Some don’t mind the hazy Wichita skyline, but Ascension Via Christi pulmonologist, Dr. Raid Abu-Awwad, said others can feel the impact of the polluted air, especially those with respiratory conditions like asthma or COPD.

“They’ll feel it as an exacerbation of their underlying disease. They’ll have worsened shortness of breath, cough, they might have more wheezing in their lungs. You may also notice they have upper respiratory tract symptoms, like burning in your eyes, nose or throat," said Dr. Abu-Awwad.

He said if the smoke were to hang around for a long time, it could cause lasting effects on some people’s lungs. The good news, though, is that Storm Team 12 Chief Meteorologist Ross Janssen said the smoke should move out of the state by early next week.

To avoid the smokey air, consider staying inside and breathing filtered air form your air conditioner and continue wearing your mask.

Copyright 2020 KWCH. All rights reserved.

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