Wildfire smoke impacts allergy and asthma sufferers

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Reported by: Sharon Phillips
Updated: 11/09/2012 9:58 pm Published: 11/09/2012 6:52 pm

Near Bixby --

Homeowners near the wildfire in Bixby are relieved at least in one way.
That fire which has been burning since Wednesday is now under control. Initially, firefighters estimated up to a thousand acres had burned. But now, it appears to be closer to 500 or so.

In any case, the smoke is now the bigger issue especially for those with Asthma or any other respiratory problem.

Bobby Yardy is a frequent visitor to the Allergy, Asthma and Immunology Center. She’s suffered from allergies since she was four years old. Bobby was in Tulsa on Thursday when she began to smell smoke coming from the grassfire near Bixby.

"When I smell stuff like that it instantly makes me sick, and I'm severely allergic to trees so I can't be around wood burning,” says Yardy.

She kept thinking that the further she drove away, it would get better but it didn’t.

"I will get hives which that happens a lot but also headache and feeling congested, and I get pretty nauseous,” she says.

Dr. Iftikhar Hussain is an allergy specialist, and when he heard about the grassfire - he was worried for patients like Bobby.

"The smoke particle carries pollen on top of that, so if you already have allergies in the ragweed season and you breathe in the smoke, your allergies will be worse,” says Dr. Hussain.

Because Oklahoma is prone to grassfires during this time of year - he recommends doing several things if you suffer from asthma or allergies.
First - make sure you stay indoors and try to exercise inside if you can.
Also, it's a good idea to immediately take a bath or shower and change your clothes if you come into contact with the smoke. The particles can get on your clothing. Smoke can be a very strong irritant and can cause your lungs to start going into a spasm.

For Bobby - she's knows her limits and tries to stay as far away from smoke and ragweed as she possibly can.

"I just started my shots again about six months ago and it has helped,” says Yardy.

Firefighters have been successful keeping the fire away from homes; however they are still working on area hot spots.

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