Forest Fires create bad indoor air quality | Volunteer Mold and Indoor Air Quality
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East Tennessee Fires Creates Breathing Problems for Thousands.

img_0554I have noticed a lot of coughing going on in East Tennessee even as the smoke dies down from the recent devastating wild fires in the Gatlenburg and Pigeon Forge areas.
Knoxville and the surrounding 100 miles or so has been blanked by residual haze and smoke.

What’s in forest fire smoke?

Forest fire smoke is made up of a mixture of gases and very small particles that are produced when wood and other organic matter burn. These small particles and gases can be harmful to your health.

Are their short-term health risks?

Your body will try to protect itself against smoke by making more tears and mucous. This can cause runny noses, scratchy throat, irritated sinuses and headaches. You may also develop a cough.
A number of health effects are associated with wildfire smoke, including asthma and cardio obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) exacerbation, bronchitis, pneumonia, and cardiovascular outcomes.

Who is at greatest risk?

• Children, seniors and pregnant women have a greater risk of adverse health effects than others. If you are pregnant, your healthcare provider has the best advice for you.
• People who have chronic heart or lung problems are also at greater risk. These individuals may feel the effects of smoke earlier and worse than others in the community.
• People who are very active doing work or sports outside are also at higher risk of adverse health effects.


• If forest fire smoke is affecting your breathing or making you uncomfortable in others ways, move to a less smoky area if possible.
• Use air conditioning if it is available and be sure to drink plenty of water to stay
• If it is smoky outside, it is best not to go outdoors to do physical activity. This is a good time to stay indoors with the windows closed.
• If you have a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) cleaner that will reduce levels of small particles in indoor air, use it and stay in the room where it is located.
• Use air conditioning in cars and keep windows closed. Remember, vehicles should never be run in an enclosed space like a garage.
• Avoid using smoke producing appliances such as wood stoves and even candles.
• Do not smoke tobacco inside – smoking puts added stress on your lungs and those around you.
• If you have asthma or other respiratory conditions, avoid smoke and take your prescribed medicine. Speak with your health care provider to get the specific advice that is right for you.

If you experience difficulty breathing or other symptoms that you cannot control by getting out of the smoke, visit your doctor or seek medical help right away.

We at Volunteer Mold and Indoor Air Quality continue to pray for and support our East Tennessee Neighbors.

Volunteer Mold and IAQ rents and supply high volume HEPA air scrubbers that remove particulate and smoke from indoor air at home and work.

Please let us know if you or your family members need more information.

Photo of Building Science Expert, Bob Byrne from Knoxville TN

Bob Byrne specializes in Indoor Air Quality corrections and environmental inspections in East Tennessee.

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