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Living with Asthma & Other Lung Disease in Seasonal Wildfires

Wild fires can include forest fires, grassland fires, and any other large body of fire burning in the environment. When living with Asthma and other lung afflictions, wildfires can make life extremely difficult, because our lungs are already weakened by lung conditions or disease. When you can't count on your lungs to support your body through extreme weather circumstances, it becomes imperative to learn how to navigate through times like these and become as prepared as possible.

[ If you're on oxygen take to your doc about any changes in the amounts

needed. ]

Unfortunately, wildfires are the norm in our current times in many states, in particular on the west coast where the air is drier and hot already. Our air quality has been diminishing and to add smoke, soot, and other debris from fires into the mix is a recipe for lung disaster! However, remember we're Warriors! We don't lie down at the start of a conundrum, we button down our hatches and get to survivin'!! :()

Below are a few lifestyle tips that can make living through fiery atmosphere's safer...

First dust masks, the familiar kind you see people wearing at times will not do. This type of mask is only capable of filtering out large particles, so smaller more health hazardous particles will still have access to your lungs and body. What you'll need are dust masks with an N-95 or N-100 filter that's capable of filtering out those smaller more dangerous particles.


These types of filtering masks are difficult to wear ( it can be a challenge to get them to fit properly) for some and more difficult to breath in. Crazy Eh?! These are only for use if you MUST go outdoors for any period of time. It's smart to consult your health care provider if you're living with a lung disease before using any type of masks.

When traveling in motor vehicles, roll up those windows if you're driving through smoky areas, also keep all the vents closed as smoke particles can enter through them. Air conditioning should only be operating in the RECIRCULATE mode. The goal is to block out all outside smoke and debris particles.

[ We're all excited about the prospects of our homemade yeast crust Gluten Free pizza! Stay tuned in with us to find out how it goes!! ]

[ Adrienne's a bit annoyed with her house mates! LOL Their little drama aside, keep moving just do it indoors when there's smoke and fire residue floating around in the environment! :() ]

It may seem like common sense but exercise indoors because after a big fire, the dust, and smoke particles travel far and wide, and even though it may look clear, soon after a fire, the air won't be.

Remain indoors as much as you can. Doors and windows should be closed, and fireplace dampers shut. Like your car, air-conditioning should be set on RECIRCULATE so the OUTdoor air won't get pulled back into your house. HEPA filters and air purifiers provide additional protection and air filtration from smoke and soot. If there are places where air may seek in, under doors or window sills, place damp towels to block out outdoor air.

Wildfires can effect any number of diseases, but particularly those with Asthma, COPD, and other lung diseases, those with Cardiovascular diseases, and Diabetes. It's smart to check with your doctor about any changes in medication that may have to be made in order to help sustain yourself in smoky conditions.

Be self aware. Knowing what symptoms are normal for you and which ones aren't. If you're having worsened or new and complicated symptoms and they're not relieved with your normal meds; contact your health care provider or get to a hospital as soon as possible. If you're experiencing heavy wheezing, difficulty taking a breath, shortness or tightness when breathing, dizziness, heaviness in the chest, please immediately seek medical care as well.

Post fire exposure is just as tricky to navigate. If your'e having pain while breathing, persistent coughing, starting as late as 24-48 hours after exposure. Try and remain calm, because it will make a difference in breathing patterns! {easier said when these conditions occur but important }

If it's possible do something that helps to keep you calm, like a soothing cup of tea [or coffee LOL! ], reading, working crosswords, watch or listen to something funny, or whatever can keep your mind off of the current circumstances of the environment. [ of course this is for when your normal life has resumed, not for if you're evacuating!! ]

* Those with lung or other serious health problems should avoid post fire clean up in order to avoid exposure to ash and soot.

* If you're in a sooty post fire area, try and dampen or wet down the space to prevent dusky sooty particles becoming airborne.

* Cover your face if your participating in post fire clean up that's unavoidable. Wear a dust mask, or best case one of the masks mentioned above.

* Avoid all areas that may have asbestos and other hazardous materials around. Try and AVOID the area at all costs.

Now realize that it may not be possible to include all of the safety tips mentioned, but incorporating what you can, and as many as you can will make a difference with serious health issues in wildfire season or whenever there's been a fire.

Keep a bunk out bag somewhere easily accessible in case you need to bail out in a hurry. Have your meds, masks, towels ( for dampening in case there's a need to block out smoke wherever you may be ), a portable phone charger, doctor's and emergency numbers in your phone along with a good bible app for the Lord's guidance and prayers ( my favorite app is You Version Holy Bible for IOS and Android! ), water( if possible), identification for you and loved ones and a few non perishable snacks. If there are kids, have something to keep them occupied ( small toys, puzzles, etc...) while you're making immediate and important decisions.

Staying prepped and informed is key to surviving fire disasters, and living efficiently afterwards.

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