CHEYENNE – As the wildfire season continues in the Cowboy State, the physicians members of The Wyoming Medical Society (WMS) encourage citizens in wildfire-impacted areas of the state to avoid exposure to smoke and keep indoor air as clean as possible until the smoke dissipates.
Currently the Cole Creek Fire in Natrona and Converse County have burned over 10,000 acres and are responsible for smoky conditions in Central Wyoming. Wildfires in the Shoshone National Forest and Yellowstone National Park have also impacted another nearly 3,000 acres in Northwest Wyoming.
Dr. Sigsbee Duck is the President of the WMS Board of Trustees practicing at the Memorial Hospital Otolaryngology Clinic, located in Rock Springs. He relates that the simplest tip is to reduce exposure to the smoke for those with a history of breathing issues.
“If you have a history of severe allergies, asthma or reactive airway disease with a propensity to react to smoke exposure in an adverse fashion with wheezing and/or shortness of breath, please try to stay indoors and avoid the smoke,” Duck said. “Be sure if you are on medications for these breathing concerns that the medications are readily available to you for use.”
The WMS also offers a list of tips from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to those impacted by the fires. Among the most important for public health include:
Check local air quality reports and pay attention to public health messages about safety measures;
Keep indoor air as clean as possible by keeping doors and windows closed, running an air conditioner keeping the fresh air intake closed the filter clean;
Avoid Actives that increase indoor air pollution such as burning candles, fireplaces, or smoking;
Following the advice of a physician about medicines and respiratory management plans;
Do not reply on a dust mask for protection, as they will not protect your lungs from small particles found in wildfire smoke. The CDC does offer a Respirator Fact Sheet for those who do seek protection by wearing a mask.
The Wyoming Medical Society was founded in 1903 to provide representation, advocacy and service to Wyoming physicians. We strive to be an efficient, member-driven, responsive organization, capable of anticipating and responding swiftly to the changing health care environment. WMS serves our membership, and their patients, and works to improve the health of Wyoming’s citizens.