Ask Avera: Can smoky, smog-filled skies affect our health?

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Wednesday kicks off a new segment at KSFY – Ask Avera. We’re taking questions to our Ask Avera experts.

For our first question, many of you asked if the smoky, fog-filled skies can affect our health.

Dr. Tad Jacobs is the chief medical officer for Avera Medical Group and is one of our Ask Avera experts. He says some people should be concerned.

“Allergy sufferers who are prone to asthma, let’s say, or folks that have chronic lung disease -- if you are living in the city, there would be a high smog index. They would be warning people to stay indoors in the air conditioning and so forth. Just like our environment out there currently, you have to protect yourself and just be a little smart about your activities,” said Dr. Jacobs.

There are precautionary measures people can take to avoid adverse effects.

“If you really have serious problems, these things shouldn't be taken lightly. I think staying indoors makes a lot of sense and not exerting yourself outside where your oxygen demand is increasing and you're having to breathe more. Those simple things can help to protect you,” said Dr. Jacobs.

If you are concerned or have questions, talk to your doctor.

“A lot of folks will have their primary care physician or some of them may have pulmonologists. They can always reach out to those folks and say ‘hey do I need additional medication during these periods of times.’ If you relate it back to allergies, if you're an allergy sufferer, this is the time of year to be taking those steps to taking your medication a little more religiously -- same thing if you're having difficulty breathing, get something done.

Next week, we’ll ask what steps you can take to prepare for hunting season both physically and mentally.

If you have a question for one our Ask Avera experts, e-mail Tess at tess.hedrick@ksfy.com.