Multiple wildfires in Southwest Colorado and Arizona are producing smoke in our region, smoke from wildfires even miles away, with the right wind conditions can result in a valley full of smoke.

Below is information and resources on how to take precautions and stay healthy during periods of poor air quality.

– Dr. Sharon Grundy

Wildfire smoke — which is a mix of gases and fine particles from burning trees and other materials — can make many people uncomfortable, even sick.

People with asthma, heart or lung disease, children and the elderly are particularly at risk.

It doesn’t take much exposure to this smoke to cause immediate symptoms, including:

  • Scratchy throat

  • Stinging eyes

  • Coughing

  • Wheezing

  • Trouble breathing

  • Runny nose

  • Headaches

  • Tiredness

  • Chest pain

Staying Healthy

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends staying indoors with windows closed when smoke is moderate to heavy  — as it is currently.

If you must go outside, wear a cloth face mask, like the ones used to help prevent the spread of COVID-19, and limit your time outdoors.

It is especially important for the very young, the elderly, and individuals with pre-existing heart or respiratory conditions to avoid exposure to the smoke.

If smoke penetrates indoor environments, it may be necessary to move to another location until the smoke clears.

If you have asthma, know your plan, and make sure you have your rescue medications on hand.

And don’t forget about pets!

They may also be affected by smoke from wildfires. Keep your pets indoors if possible during peak smoky periods.

Contact your healthcare provider if you have trouble breathing, shortness of breath, a cough that won’t let up or other symptoms that won’t go away.

If you have a medical emergency, call 9-1-1.

Additional resources: