Wildfire smoke irritating eyes and breathing

Local News

FRESNO, California. (KSEE) – Thick smoke from wildfires in northern California inundated the Valley this weekend, darkening skies, reducing visibility, and making some people sick.

Cassandra Melching at the Valley Air District says common symptoms are burning eyes, tightness in the chest, and difficulty breathing, “People who have asthma or acute respiratory illnesses, they are going to be heavily impacted as well as the normal person.”

The San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District recommends people avoid the smoke by staying indoors, preferably in cool filtered rooms.

If considering an air purifier, John Letlow at Fresno Ag Hardware says, “What you really need to know is how much area you want to scrub and clean so you are able to buy a unit that’s not undersize for the area you’re needing to clean.”

Perhaps the best advice may be to check your HVAC filter.  Even if you don’t think it’s time yet.

Sig Barela at Fresno Ag Hardware says when it comes to filters, “When we had our big fire here, the creek fire, that was real.  We were cleaned out. We had nothing. Actually, with the Creek Fire, a lot of the filter material was being used to make masks. That’s what the 3M filter material is used for to make masks.  Now that there’s a balance there’s a lot more filters now.”

Barela explains some filters are designed to remove ultra-small particles, “They work better, yes, but they tax your system a lot harder.”

They actually recommend basic, less expensive filters changed more frequently.  These tend to allow more airflow and that means the air in your house can cycle through more often.

Letlow says, “Even though it says 30 days you need to replace it a lot sooner.”

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