Everyone from the Jerry Garcia Band to Eartha Kitt has recorded the Jerome Kern song "Smoke Gets in Your Eyes." The classic lyrics describe how teary a fiery end of a romance can make you.
But folks from the West and Southwest to the Midwest and beyond are dealing with eye irritation, breathing difficulty and asthma from rampant wildfires that've burned more than 7.5 million acres so far this year.
The skies in many places have turned eerily gray as smoke and particulate matter (carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, and soot) sail eastward on the jet stream. Anybody who has heart disease or lung problems (COPD, asthma, chronic bronchitis, severe allergies, cystic fibrosis, etc.) should stay indoors with windows closed.
And everyone should avoid strenuous outdoor activity when it's visibly smoky or if the air quality index is rated as "unhealthy."
This is also a good time to make sure you drink plenty of water and stay hydrated so that you produce enough phlegm to cough easily and expel any particulate matter you might inhale.
If you have breathing problems, check with your doctor to make sure you're following the best treatment plan. Make sure you have strong filter masks (and practice how to use them) and an effective long-acting bronchodilator, as well as a short-acting beta agonist or rescue inhaler such as albuterol.
Then, as the Southern jam band Mofro sings, "Well, the sky is ashy white and the fields are burning bright ... pray for rain."
Posts by Dr. Mehmet Oz, M.D. and Dr. Mike Roizen, M.D.
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