Air quality relief in sight for Spokane, as doctors see increase in patients

Air quality relief in sight for Spokane, as doctors see increase in patients

With wildfires in British Columbia pumping smoke into the Spokane area, as of Wednesday night Spokane was left with air quality unhealthy for some groups.

“It’s definitely a little rough out there,” said Jeff Galpin, who was out for run. “I stayed indoors for the last few weeks of low air quality but I had to get out run.”

Pulmonologist and Critical Care Physician Jiten Patel, with Providence Pulmonary and Sleep Disorder Clinic says he seen an increase of 20-30 percent of acute cases with the low air quality.

“Complaints are coughing, wheezing, tightness in their chest,” he says, “congestion of their airways, itchiness in the back of their gullet, runny noses and watery eyes.”

He says all are normal, but if you are in a high risk group, such as those with asthma or COPD, you need to be extra aware of the symptoms and carry emergency therapy with you at all times.

For runners feeling the air quality, he recommends changing the time of your run.

“Avoid that morning or afternoon run,” he says. “The particulate matter rises with the heat. Warm air is also more turbulent and harder to breath.”

For acute symptom relief he recommends antihistamines and decongestants, or treatments as simple as a nasal flush to clear the sinuses.

At the top of his list however, is staying hydrated and listening to your body so that you know when to get back indoors.

Though the air quality is not unhealthy for all groups as of Wednesday night, Spokane Parks and Recreation has moved several of their outdoor camps indoors for the remainder of the week.

Spokane Regional Health District has also canceled a vaccination clinic schedule for Thursday to prepare for potentially variable air quality and to allow those who need to, to remain indoors.