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Medical experts say Central Texas wildfires causing irritated lungs

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Posted at 10:20 AM, Mar 30, 2022

WACO, Texas — It’s been a rough stretch of days for Natalia Flores and her family.

“I feel nauseous and I feel very, very dizzy," said Flores, a Nolanville resident.

"It’s hard for me to take a deep breath,

"My chest is hurting, and my chest feels very, very heavy,”

She doesn’t think it’s just allergies either.

Flores was at a local high school softball game when she saw clouds of smoke drift through the area.

Since then, she and her son have felt sick.

“I think it’s because of the smoke because I’ve been feeling fine, but then we had all this smoke and all this fire,” said Flores.

She isn’t alone though, locals are pointing to nearby wildfires as the source of the problem.

Health experts say it’s called particle pollution.

“We’ve seen wildfire attacks all the way from Mexico drift into the state and people get respiratory issues,” said Baylor Scott and White Medical Center Clinical Medical Director Dr. Van Wehmayer.

“That can happen whenever you have those wildfires burning," said Texas A&M University-Central Texas Associate Professor of Nursing, Dr. Dawn Riess.

"People that have any type of respiratory illness, whether you're very old or very young, you're at higher risk,”

With fire season now underway in Central Texas, it’s important to know ways to protect yourself from allergies and asthma.

“You can buy an air purifier itself or your HVAC system normally has a filter," said Dr. Riess.

"There are higher-level ones for different particles that people can go and buy,”

“Make sure your inhalers are updated if you have asthma," said Dr. Wehmayer.

"Stay indoors when it is just ripping,

"Plus, we have all this pollen in the air and that can make it even worse after mixing it in with the smoke,”

Local health experts say using nasal spray and A N95 mask can also help.