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Smoke in the valley causes health concerns

Posted at 10:21 PM, Aug 04, 2016
and last updated 2016-08-05 00:21:13-04

Choking, cough-causing haze has made its way into the Treasure Valley.  It is coming from the nearby Pioneer Fire.

"We woke up to everything being nice and clear and no smoke impacts in the valley, and the winds kind of changed direction on us and brought the smoke in," explained David Luft of the Department of Environmental Quality. 
 
DEQ officials say the haze pushed the air quality in Boise and Garden City to the yellow or moderate category. It some areas, it was even worse than that.
 
"There may be areas where it might be in the upper yellow or potentially even the lower orange," said Luft.
 
Doctors at Saint Alphonsus Regional Medical Center say this bad air does more than ruin a good view; it can do serious damage to those who suffer from chronic lung or heart diseases. 
 
"It can worsen their symptoms. Sometimes they may have to use medications more frequently to relieve symptoms," explained Dr. John East, a pulmonary physician at Saint Al's. "If it gets bad enough, they may end up having to be hospitalized."
 
Doctors say even people with  healthy lungs and heart can still by affected the smoke. Tiny particles in the haze can cause long-term issues if you are exposed to too much. Doctors recommend limiting your time outside. 
 
"Try not to over exert yourself and do too much. It's not really the best time to do outdoor exercise," said Dr. East.