Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Medical Centers See Surge in Coughs, Hacking; Respiratory Problems Abound as First Coast Endures Thick Smoke

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Medical Centers See Surge in Coughs, Hacking; Respiratory Problems Abound as First Coast Endures Thick Smoke

Article excerpt

Byline: URVAKSH KARKARIA

The mushroom cloud of wildfire-fueled smoke that smothered the First Coast for a second day Wednesday drove some residents into emergency rooms and doctor's offices.

Area medical providers are seeing people shuffle in with smoke-related symptoms, ranging from watery eyes to chest pains.

The Shands Jacksonville ER has seen a roughly 50 percent increase in patients with respiratory problems over the past two days, which department chief David Vukich attributed to the smoke blanketing the area.

Several area health departments issued health advisories. Smoke from wildfires is a mixture of gases and fine particles from burning trees and other plant materials. Smoke can irritate the eyes and respiratory system and worsen chronic heart and lung diseases, the Duval County Health Department's advisory noted.

People with chronic conditions like asthma and emphysema are at greatest risk, as are the elderly and children, said Marc Thorpe, a family physician at Solantic, a Jacksonville-based urgent care center.

The biggest health threat from smoke comes from fine particles within, Thorpe said.

"These ... particles can get into your eyes and respiratory system," he said, "where they can cause temporary health problems [like] burning eyes, runny nose, and illnesses such as bronchitis."

Memorial Hospital's ER has seen about 10 patients in the past two days with smoke-related medical conditions.

The smoke particles cause inflammation in the lungs that triggers asthmatic episodes, similar to the effect second-hand cigarette smoke can have, said Roger Menze, an emergency medicine physician at Memorial.

Smoke-related issues led to a 5 percent increase in ER traffic at St. Vincent's Medical Center over the past couple of days, hospital spokesman Erik Kaldor said.

Lakewood Baptist Urgent Care has seen about 30 patients over the past two days, with smoke-related problems like conjunctivitis and bronchitis, Henryk Malczak said. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.