Front Range air quality worsens, making breathing difficult


Summary

DENVER (KDVR) — Current Front Range air quality is so bad that health experts warn it could have an even worse impact than smoking two cigarettes per day. Pulmonologists warn that people should stay indoors as much as possible.

The heavy smoke from wildfires has colored the sky red. Parts of Colorado are looking more like Mars.

“The first thing this morning … could see the sun and then it was kind of light out, and around [noon] it just got pitch dark,” University of Northern Colorado student Kylie Starrett said.

Starrett shared pictures with FOX31 showing thick air pollution in Greeley that made it hard to breath on Labor Day.

“The particulate matter is an irritant and increases mucas production in the lungs and causes increased inflammation in the airways … so this is a really potent trigger for many people, unfortunately, to worsen their breathing,” Dr. Jeffrey Sippel said, a pulmonologist at UCHealth University of Colorado Hospital.

Sippel says, if possible, set air conditioners to recycle indoor air instead of bringing air in from outside. Filters can only do so much at preventing the particles from entering homes or places of business. This advice is especially important for those who suffer from asthma or COPD.

“It’s just a continuous irritant— day in and day out— for these types of people,” Sippel said. “There’s a cumulative effect that I’m going to lean towards being even worse than a couple cigarettes a day.”

For Starrett, who suffers from seasonal allergies, the smokey air is having an impact.

“Woke up this morning … I was super stuffy and then my head has kind of hurt all day,” she said.

Those who haven’t felt sluggish due to the air quality have likely been impacted in other ways. Ash has coated cars and various surfaces across the Front Range.

“You could walk up to all the cars in our parking lot and run your hand across it … and it’s like pitch black,” Starrett said.

Snow forecasted for Tuesday into Wednesday could bring relief and improve area air quality, according to FOX31 meteorologists. Sippel says those who have trouble breathing should not delay seeking medical assistance. They should strongly consider visiting their physician, an urgent care center or an emergency room.



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DENVER (KDVR) — Current Front Range air quality is so bad that health experts warn it could have an even worse impact than smoking two cigarettes per day. Pulmonologists warn that people should stay indoors as much as possible.

The heavy smoke from wildfires has colored the sky red. Parts of Colorado are looking more like Mars.

“The first thing this morning … could see the sun and then it was kind of light out, and around [noon] it just got pitch dark,” University of Northern Colorado student Kylie Starrett said.

Starrett shared pictures with FOX31 showing thick air pollution in Greeley that made it hard to breath on Labor Day.

“The particulate matter is an irritant and increases mucas production in the lungs and causes increased inflammation in the airways … so this is a really potent trigger for many people, unfortunately, to worsen their breathing,” Dr. Jeffrey Sippel said, a pulmonologist at UCHealth University of Colorado Hospital.

Sippel says, if possible, set air conditioners to recycle indoor air instead of bringing air in from outside. Filters can only do so much at preventing the particles from entering homes or places of business. This advice is especially important for those who suffer from asthma or COPD.

“It’s just a continuous irritant— day in and day out— for these types of people,” Sippel said. “There’s a cumulative effect that I’m going to lean towards being even worse than a couple cigarettes a day.”

For Starrett, who suffers from seasonal allergies, the smokey air is having an impact.

“Woke up this morning … I was super stuffy and then my head has kind of hurt all day,” she said.

Those who haven’t felt sluggish due to the air quality have likely been impacted in other ways. Ash has coated cars and various surfaces across the Front Range.

“You could walk up to all the cars in our parking lot and run your hand across it … and it’s like pitch black,” Starrett said.

Snow forecasted for Tuesday into Wednesday could bring relief and improve area air quality, according to FOX31 meteorologists. Sippel says those who have trouble breathing should not delay seeking medical assistance. They should strongly consider visiting their physician, an urgent care center or an emergency room.



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