Hospital visits up due to Boise's unhealthy air

Credit: Zach Stotland/ KTVB

Hospital visits up due to Boise's unhealthy air

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by Andrea Lutz

Bio | Email | Follow: @KTVBandrealutz

KTVB.COM

Posted on August 13, 2012 at 10:22 PM

Updated Tuesday, Nov 26 at 1:59 AM

BOISE -- Air quality did not improve Monday, after the Idaho Department of Environmental Health increased the level Sunday to orange or moderate.

Dr. Brian Reynolds works in the emergency room at St. Alphonsus Regional Medical Center in Boise and said many people who are most sensitive to the smoky air are seeking refuge at the hospital.

“Itchy eyes, burning eyes allergy symptoms runny nose, coughing trouble breathing,” Reynolds described the symptoms some may be feeling with the smoke.

Those with chronic respiratory illness are feeling the brunt of it, but Reynolds says everyone could be impacted. 

“Especially the asthma people and the people who are smoker, with this air quality (they have) had worsening symptoms, difficulty breathing and can't take their medicine at home to make them feel better, so they end up coming in here,” he said.

But what about those who have to be outside-to make their living? Monday there were numerous construction crews spotted working around the City of Trees in the smoke. There was also, Brady Meyers spotted trimming grass on the north side of town.

“(I) started at about 8 o’clock and have been going ever since,” he said.

And Monday, the smoke was a part of his workday—

Meyers started his own landscaping business called the Lawn Boy years ago.

“You know I don't really notice it too much. I do some work in the foothills and when you get up there I mean you can see over the whole valley you can really notice it,” said Meyers.

He said there are worse things than working in the smoke, such as working in the heat.

His advice: “Just stay hydrated.”

“When you can start taking your pulse from your temples then it’s probably time to sit (by) the air conditioner,” he jokes.

Dr. Reynolds advises to do just that, and stay inside to keep clear of the smoke.

“Exercising is also a big thing in Boise and its hard not to exercise but it’s better to take a couple of days off until the smoky air clear,”

At least until the smoke floats away. For some, like Meyers that can be hard to do...

“That would be tough because you have got to make a living,” said Meyers.

So if you have to be outside--

Doctors recommend wearing a bandanna or a mask and taking breaks in an air conditioned place.  Also, keep your windows closed if you can and be sure to drink plenty of water and change your home air conditioning filter if you can.

 

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