(La Junta, CO)0 --- If you're having trouble breathing the last couple of days, you're not alone. Respiratory distress from breathing smoke is actually quite common.
Valley Wide Medical Director Dr. Patrick Smith says there are ways to protect your health during wildfires. He says breathing is one of the most important things you do so if you're having trouble with the smoke, stay inside as much as you possibly can. Closing your windows and washing your sheets more often can help. Tiny dust and smoke particles can settle in your sheets and you're breathing that all night. Dr. Smith says it's also very important to regularly change the filters in your furnace.
"All those little tiny things can make small differences that add up to big changes in your life." Dr. Smith elaborated.
Dr. Smith says asthma isn't the only respiratory illness. COPD, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease is common in smokers or those who have been routinely exposed to second hand smoke. Dr. Smith says even without these illnesses just inhaling soot, ash and smoke into your lungs can irritate your lungs and cause you to have breathing issues.
Lastly, Dr. Smith says make a call to your doctor if you have concerns. If you're really having trouble breathing, go straight to the Emergency Room.
Valley Wide is open seven days a week in La Junta. There are also Valley Wide Clinics in Ordway, Las Animas and Rocky Ford.
Listen to the entire interview with Dr. Patrick Smith by clicking here.