BOISE -- The smoke from nearby wildfires can be a major issue for folks who work outside, enjoy exercise, or suffer from breathing problems.

Doctors are cautioning those sensitive to poor air quality to limit their activities outside and monitor their breathing.

Nate Stillwagon, M.D., is preparing to see more patients in the emergency room of Saint Alphonsus Regional Medical Center.

We're going to see people with chronic lung issues coming in a lot more often, Stillwagon said. So anybody with asthma, reactive airway disease, or COPD, or emphysema, they tend to be the people that have the worst outcomes when air quality goes down.

Stillwagon says people with lung conditions have the most problems with the smoky air regardless of their age, but those with healthy lungs might also feel the effects if they spend a lot of time outside.


It is tough. When you're out there, if it's in the air, you're probably going to suck it in if you're working or exercising out in the outdoors, said Stillwagon.

Stillwagon says smoky air can intensify mild asthma, or even lower your energy level.

I think the recommendation would be spend as little time outdoors as possible while this is going on til the air quality improves, said Stillwagon.

Folks that work outside have little choice, however. That includes Bo Grosboll, owner of Idaho Poster Distribution.

We're out here every day, distributing promotional material by hand, Grosboll told KTVB. So we're in the elements, all the time.

Grosboll says he's noticed a change in the air, but it hasn't affected him yet.

I don't think it's really bad yet, but I have noticed a difference from before this happened compared to now, Grosboll said.

Staying inside isn't a good option for Boise resident Chalsea Engum either. Engum goes outside with her dogs each day. She's noticed the lower air quality, but says she can't avoid it.

It's probably better than it was last summer, when it was really, really bad, Engum said. But I noticed it smells really smoky and the air feels thick.


Dr. Stillwagon says those who must be outside should wear a mask over their nose and mouth to minimize the amount of particles breathed in.

He also goes on to say that they haven't seen too many patients coming in with lung issues yet, but he anticipates it will get worse in the coming days.

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