Valley air quality nearing ‘maximum dangerous level,’ health experts urging people to stay indoors

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FRESNO, California (KSEE) – The smoke from hundreds of wildfires burning across the state is continuing to suffocate the Valley, triggering unhealthy air quality levels. 

Right now, the smoke particles in the air are causing allergy and respiratory issues for some, health experts we spoke with say if you don’t have to be outside, it’s best to stay indoors.

“The smoke is so thick you can barely see a football field in front of you,” said Josh Scherer, Fresno resident.

Scherer went to Woodward Park to roller blade but cut his workout short because of the poor air quality.

“You know I more worried about the air than the Covid to be honest, I think this air is bad, you can’t breathe this stuff in,” Scherer said.

The San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District issuing a warning for people to avoid prolonged or vigorous outdoor activities. 

Dr. Lauren Hiyama at the Baz Allergy Asthma and Sinus Center says they have seen an uptick in patients calling about allergy and respiratory issues.

“A lot of asthmatic patients are coming in with episodes of coughing and wheezing primarily over the last two weeks due to the poor air quality,” he said.

Hiyama says the smoke is causing symptoms similar to allergies. 

“You can have an irritant affect that causes all the same symptoms of allergies but it’s not due to an allergic mechanism,” he said.

UCSF Fresno chronic lung disease specialist says this smokey air can trigger asthma attacks, aggravate chronic bronchitis, and even increase the risk of heart attack and stroke.

“This amount that we’ve seen lately in the Valley, this is absolutely at a maximum dangerous level for people with chronic lung disease,” said Dr. Anil Gsimire, medical director for chronic lung disease at UCSF Fresno.

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