Medical calls increase as smoke from wildfires reaches Siouxland
SIOUX CITY, Iowa (KTIV) -
Sioux City resident Kristine Elkjer has family visiting from Tucson, Arizona.
And on Monday, they had an unpleasant surprise during their visit in Siouxland.
"Out of the blue yesterday, the baby she's six months old just got a stuffy nose and a runny nose," said Elkjer. "And then her little brother who's four did. And then my other daughter who lives here, she came down with the same thing. And it's just like a foggy face and runny nose."
These are the same symptoms that one Siouxland doctor says are happening because of the smoke drifting in from Central and Western Canada. And people are noticing it all through Siouxland.
"We were coming back from Columbus, Ohio seeing our grandson and outside on Highway 20, outside of Des Moines you could actually really see the smoke and you could actually smell the smoke in the car," said Dakota City, Nebraska resident Ruben Johnson.
Dr. Christopher Tumpkin from Sioux City Allergy and Asthma Associates, says his office has received an increased number of calls from patients who have been affected by the hazy weather.
"If you have a condition already like asthma or emphysema, which some people call it COPD, then you are at much higher risk of having an attack or having exasperation because of the high amount of irritants that are in the air," said Dr. Tumpkin.
For people who normally have allergies, the symptoms are the same as those they would normally experience.
For those who do not, there are a few symptoms to look for, according to Dr. Tumpkin.
They include: coughing, chest pressure, chest irritation, runny noses and eye irritation.
Dr. Tumpkin says for people who do have medical conditions, one thing that can be done to prevent an attack is to keep their inhalers and other medicine ready and available.
"Where you can escape from a campfire, you can escape from somebody who's smoking cigarettes, you can't really escape from this unless you go inside, keep your doors closed, run the air conditioning, recirculate the air in your car so it's not drying it from outside in," said Dr. Tumpkin. "So you actually have to make an effort to create an area of safety for yourself."
Dr. Tumpkin says the smoke is not life-threatening, even for people with medical conditions.
He says the situation should come and go fairly quickly.