PORTLAND, Ore. -- The haze is lingering around town and people are feeling the effects of all the smoke from wildfires burning in British Columbia.
With how long it's stuck around, people are really starting to feel it. This is especially true those who already suffer from allergies.
As of early Wednesday evening, the air quality in much of Portland was unhealthy for all. The haze is expected to stay in the area until at least Friday.
Nick Bertram, like a lot of people in Portland, likes to get his daily walk in. He said he tries to walk about eight miles every day, whether it’s hot or hazy out.
“I've been questioning myself as to what am I doing out here,” he laughed.
That's because after Bertram is done with his walks, he's started to notice the haze seems to be affecting his health.
“I can just feel a burning in my chest,” said Bertram.
Others are noticing the poor air quality too.
“I went to walk yesterday and when I walked out of the office, it smelled smoky,” said Peggy Kiss, who works in Downtown Portland.
Margaret Thornburg, who also works downtown, said she’s heard her coworkers complaining about the haze.
“People have asthma that's bothering them with their breathing and people have been staying indoors at lunch instead of coming out,” Thornburg said.
Dr. Kursteen Price, an allgergist immunologist at Allergy, Asthma and Dermatology Associates, P.C., said while this time of year more people usually come in due to allergies, she’s also seen more people due to the unhealthy air conditions.
“We're seeing a lot more people coming in complaining of respiratory trouble and definitely seeing people that had never experienced trouble before,” Price said.
She said the haze can be the tipping point for people suffering from allergies. Their lungs are sometimes already inflamed from the pollen in the air.
“Then we have other pollution, in particular the burning forest fires currently give a double whammy of giving us extra exposure,” said Price.
Price also said in some cases, all the pollen and smoke in the air means allergies can turn into asthma.
“For some people it'll be just an annoying cough that doesn't want to go away. For other people they will feel a tightness or even have a wheeze,” she said.
She said if people experience those symptoms, there’s a simple test that can be done at the doctor’s office to measure lung health. For an immediate fix, Price said folks who have asthma symptoms should get indoors, preferably somewhere with air conditioning.
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