Posted: Aug 23, 2011 4:28 PM by Melissa Anderson (Helena)
Updated: Aug 23, 2011 6:02 PM
Smoke from wildfires in and around the Seeley/Swan and Bob Marshall Wilderness region is slowly creeping into the Helena Valley.
While the air quality is still considered to be good in our area, it is causing health officials to monitor the conditions more closely.
For people with asthma or allergies, that smoke can often feel like fire burning your lungs and making it more difficult to breathe.
Katie Church of the MT Department of Health & Human Services noted, "We know that wildfire smoke is a really common trigger for asthma, especially out here in the western states. And of course they are most troublesome during the summertime so we really encourage people to keep an eye on Today's Air website."
The EPA standard for 24 hours is 35 micrograms per hour. So far, air quality readings in the Helena area are well below that 24 hour standard.
People who are younger than age 18 and older than 65 are also at risk for lung irritation and lung dysfunction.
Kathy Moore of the Environmental Services Administration said, "If you can breathe filtered air, that's the best thing, if you've got allergies or asthma; if you are really experiencing problems you need to go see your doctor. There are some really good inexpensive prescriptions that you can get and I've recently seen my doctor."
There are also over the counter medications available to alleviate discomfort, but the best thing is to stay away from the smoke by closing windows and not recreating outdoors.