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CHRISTUS Health provides tips to protect lungs, overall health amid wildfires

by Joshua Turner | August 31, 2023 at 4:00 a.m.

Special to the Banner-News

(Texas) – As wildfires continue to burn across the United States, including in parts of Texas and Louisiana, CHRISTUS pulmonologists are urging people to take precautions to protect their lungs and overall health from the potential effects of reduced air quality.

Patients in those areas with pre-existing lung disease or conditions, including asthma and COPD, and heart conditions including cardiovascular or coronary disease, are encouraged to limit their time outdoors to no more than a few minutes per day until air quality improves.

"Any recognition of sudden respiratory symptoms lasting longer than a few hours to a day need to be reported to your health care professional for intervention," said Dr. Suman Sinha, chief of pulmonary medicine for CHRISTUS Trinity Clinic. "Those symptoms include coughing, sneezing, teary eyes, runny nose, wheezing, chest tightness, chest pain or shortness of breath."

Sinha also said that it's important to maintain compliance with your current medical regiment and to stay in properly air-conditioned facilities, if possible, to ensure you're breathing clean, filtered air.

For those who have no pre-existing respiratory or cardiac health issues, he still encourages people in areas affected by wildfires to limit time outdoors.

"For healthy individuals, I recommend confining exercise indoors to limit exposure to poorer air quality," Sinha said. "Limit outdoor exercise as much as possible until the air quality improves to prevent any future health complications."

He said for anyone who experiences respiratory symptoms that linger, it's important to report those to a health care professional as early as possible.

Dr. Sinha says staying informed and regularly checking the air quality reports for your area are the best ways to make sure you're taking proper precautions.

Current air quality reports by region can be viewed at

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