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Is Smoke an Allergen?

Is Smoke an Allergen?

A problem here in the greater Salt Lake area has been the increase in smoke exposure secondary to wildfires. The Salt Lake Valley already has fluctuations in air quality during periods of inversions. However, this summer as wildfires occurred both locally and in the west, Utah witnessed worsening air quality than is typically expected.

Even people without underlying medical conditions are affected by smoke exposure. The particulates in wildfire smoke can reach the deepest parts of lung tissues and increase inflammation. Smoke encourages mucus production and irritates your airways, which can cause asthma exacerbations. It can also cause throat irritation, sneezing, coughing, runny nose, nasal congestion-all of which can mimic allergy symptoms. Additionally, if you have underlying asthma and/or allergies, you may be at risk for an even greater worsening of symptoms because you may already have chronically inflamed airways.   

The best way to avoid symptoms is to limit and minimize your exposure to smoke. Wildfire smoke can travel thousands of miles and can change quickly depending on wind patterns. If possible, try to stay indoors with your windows and doors closed as much as possible. You may also use a High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filter to reduce aeroallergen and irritant exposures. If you have a rescue inhaler, make sure to keep it with you all at times. You can also wear an N95 to cut down on the inhalation of particulate pollutants.

Do you or your family members have breathing or nasal symptoms? Allergy Associates of Utah is an allergy, asthma, and immunology specialty clinic serving the greater Salt Lake City, Utah area with 2 convenient locations in Murray and West Jordan. Led by specialists Andrew Smith, MD, MS, and Tara Sarin, MD, the practice strives to help people of all ages and background achieve success. Request an appointment by phone or online at either Allergy Associates of Utah location for expert allergy and immunology care today.

Phone: (801) 263-8700

Phone: (801) 282-8700