Winds carrying smoke from wildfires across Tri-Cities, doctor gives tips to stay safe outside


TRI-CITIES, TN/VA (WJHL) – A thick haze hovers across parts of the region. Wind patterns are carrying smoke from wildfires across the Tri-Cities.

It not only smells bad, but it can be hazardous to the health of many with breathing problems.

Good friends Glenda Sams and Dawn Crowder walk around Willow Springs Park every morning.

“We love this park, it’s the best kept secret in Johnson City,” said Crowder.

Monday’s trek is a little different than most.

“It’s like you’re standing in front of a smoky fireplace,” said Sams.

Storm Team 11’s Jeremy Eisenzopf said it’s hard to pinpoint exactly where that smoke is coming from, but believes most of it’s from North Carolina.

“We’ve had some fires closer in to the Tri-Cities, but I think the really big large fires are in North Carolina — a lot of that smoke plume is being drawn up into the Tri-Cities,” he said.

Immunologist and allergist Larry Smith said in the past week, he’s heard about 25 percent more smoke-related complaints from patients.

“Certainly today we’ve seen several who came in for their allergy injections and said ‘oh my gosh, I’m worse than I was last week. My throat’s sore, my nose is runny and stuffy and I’m coughing,”’ Smith said.

Smith said people with known respiratory problems, like allergies and asthma, are more affected by the smoke and fog. If you don’t have asthma but are experiencing some respiratory irritation, he said it’s good advice to stay inside.

“The best way to stay safe outside is to stay indoors,” Smith said.

But if that’s not possible, Smith said, “Take some precautions; wear a mask, limit you time outdoors and certainly limit strenuous activity outdoors.”

That is until the rain comes and the smoke clears, so people like Glenda and Dawn can enjoy a safer outdoors.

Dr. Smith says patients with known respiratory problems should take their medications regularly.

He adds those without asthma experiencing an increase in the severity of coughing and shortness of breath should go to their regular physician.Copyright 2016 WJHL. All rights reserved.

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