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Breathing Problems Caused By Smoky, Dry, Dirty Air

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NORTH TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM) – The fires across the state are sending a lot of smoke billowing into the air and some of it is drifting into the air we breathe here in North Texas.

To the naked eye, the skies across the metroplex may seem pretty clear, but to the lungs, it’s a different story.

Depending on where you are, a smoky haze will come and go. But, for those coughing, wheezing and struggling to breathe, smoke is just part of the problem.

“No question about it – I’ve got the stoppage and a little bit of the sneezing, and the watery eyes. I sure do,” North Texas Gene Oliver said about his breathing problems.

Despite his health issues and the weather conditions, a family picnic with granddaughter was just too tempting.

To get the experience Gene was prepared to deal with the dirty air. “I get that sense of smoke in the air, there’s definitely smoke coming this way.”

The air isn’t just dirty; according to Dallas allergist Dr. Gary Gross it’s also dry. “The lack of humidity, so we’re breathing in very dry air. So, that’s not very good for our nose or our sinuses,” he said. “And then, the other factor is that we’ve had so many fires around here. You can actually go out and taste and smell the air and you shouldn’t be able to do that.”

Allergies are typically triggered by particles from growing things, but, right now everything’s bone dry. As a result, the problem could literally be right underneath your feet.

“The grass dries up and it breaks up and you get these small particle our body only has a few ways to get rid of,” explained Dr. Gross. “One of which is to cough and sneeze the particles out of our system.”

Dr. Gross said if your eyes are burning and watering, you have thick mucus and cough; it probably has to do with the air and not allergies.

Unfortunately, health workers recommend that, until the area gets some rain, those with respiratory problems limit time outdoors.

Dr. Gross also explained that treating a dirty air health issue with allergy medicine and antihistamines could actually make the person feel worse. He recommends that simple remedies, like saline nasal sprays, should be tried first. Call your doctor if you don’t get better.

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