Smoke a good excuse to take it easy | PostIndependent.com
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Smoke a good excuse to take it easy

Dennis Webb

Where there’s fire, there’s smoke.Lots and lots of smoke.It settled heavily in Glenwood Springs neighborhoods Sunday night, leaving throats tender and lungs raspy.Any problems weren’t bad enough to send anyone to Valley View’s emergency room, which has yet to treat anyone in connection with the Coal Seam Fire.But the ash-filled air did cause problems here and there in town. At Glen Valley Care & Rehabilitation Center, a few residents with respiratory problems fought off coughs.And at Dr. Al Saliman’s office, “The only thing that I can tell you is that probably about half of my day was spent with allergies and asthma,” he said Monday.Much of that was brought on by the smoke, said Saliman, who dealt not only with visiting patients but with phone calls from people requesting assistance.In case breathing is important to you, here are some of Saliman’s tips for minimizing the impacts related to smoke:-Stay inside with windows and doors shut, if possible. If you have air conditioning, use the mode that recycles household air rather than bringing in fresh air – or not so fresh air, in this case – from outside.-Avoid cooking and vacuuming indoors. Cooking increases indoor pollutants and vacuuming stirs up dust.-Avoid physical exertion.-If you have a lung disease, it is recommended that you have at least five days of medicine available throughout the fire season. Make sure you follow your physician’s care plan carefully.-Drink lots of water. Dryness increases respiratory complaints.-If you encounter respiratory problems, don’t put off getting medical assistance.After all, breathing isn’t optional.Saliman added, “Adults get very sick and die of asthma just like younger people do.”When breathing difficulties arise and the problem can’t be brought under control, “it goes sour really quick,” especially when there’s an aggravating factor such as smoke, Saliman said.He said people must examine their individual tolerance to smoke in deciding what precautions to take.However, even healthy people should reconsider exercising outdoors in heavy smoke.”You can do yourself more harm than good by exerting yourself in a smoky environment,” he said.”If you’ve got to have a good workout, work out indoors with the doors and windows shut if possible.”The American Lung Association of Colorado also recommends that those with respiratory problems cover their noses and mouths with a damp cloth if they need to go outside.The ALAC requests that everyone try to reduce additional air pollution, including driving as little as possible and not using gasoline-powered lawn mowers.Dustin Dodson, Glen Valley’s administrator, said anyone with respiratory problems is welcome to visit the facility, or just call it at 945-5476, to obtain assistance from medical staff.”We have plenty of food, we have space available for people, we have a full medical staff as well. Anyone in the community is welcome to use us as a resource,” he said.Glen Valley also can provide transportation to its facilities, he said.


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