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Asthma and Smoke: July 04, 2011

It’s a troublesome mix for asthmatics: the outbreak of spring and summer pollens combined with smoke from brush fires.

While summer rains may cut down the pollen, it also brings lightning, which sparks brush and can trigger asthma attacks.

“The airways, the muscle around the airways tightens and then the inflammation starts coming,” says Theresa Summe, Asthma Management Coordinator with Lee Memorial Health System.

Common sense tells everyone to void the smoke from brush fires, but asthmatics and people with respiratory problems need to take it a step further.

“Most asthmatics what will bother them is things you don't see. For example we just had the wildfires, and everyone talked about the smoke in the air which we all coughed but it’s the particles in the air that you don't see that lower into the airways,” says Summe.

Health experts offer some basic guidelines:

“The younger children tend to be more susceptible because their airways are smaller, their immune systems are not as developed so they tend to catch more of the illnesses and things that can trigger asthma,” says Summe.

As always, seek medical help quickly if you have trouble breathing to extinguish any serious problems.