What to Know about Bad Air Quality - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

What to Know about Bad Air Quality

Posted: Updated:

As wildfires continue to burn across the state, the city of Billings has been pretty clear. Those wildfires have pushed some smokey air and ash into the city. Now, one pulmonologist tells KULR-8 that smokey air-related problems are on the rise.

Dr. Robert Merchant with Billings Clinic specializes in caring for those people who suffer from lung disease. He said the number of people walking into the clinic with problems associated with bad air quality is growing.

Dr. Robert Merchant said, "Last week at one time I had three people in the hospital because of the smokey air. This week it's quieted down. I only have one person in the ICU because of the smokey air. And that's the ICU. In our clinic, we get a lot of people coming in with exacerbations of their breathing because of this."

Dr. Merchant called the steady increase one of his biggest concerns. He also told KULR-8 that bad air quality does not only affect the elderly and young children, but people who have lung disease, asthma and COPD. He said these groups of people are at the highest risk of severe damage.

Symptoms of bad air quality for people can range. For a person who's healthy, Dr. Merchant says symptoms will be watery eyes. For those who suffer from asthma or COPD, symptoms include coughing, shortness of breath and trouble walking. For people with heart disease, symptoms include shortness of breath and chest pain.

"If they're having symptoms, they don't want to be toughing it out. I would much rather them be seen in the clinic than have them be seen in the ICU on the ventilator," according to Dr. Merchant.

The pulmonologist also said the main thing he's worried about is fine particulates. Dr. Merchant said the size of particulates is important. For example, Dr. Merchant said if a particulate is big, it will get caught in a person's nose. When that happens, the particulate will not deposit into the lungs. If a particulate is really tiny, once a person exhales, the particulate will come out. That also means the particulate will not deposit into the lungs either. Dr. Merchant said the particulates that can really cause damage are called 2.5 microns. He said, "2.5 microns is the particular size of particles we really worry about, because those particles are the ones that get down in the lungs and deposit there and cause the damage."

Dr. Merchant wants all residents to know how to figure out if air quality is in the green or in the red. He told KULR-8 that all residents have to do is look up air quality reports and to look outside. He said we are fortunate and that residents "can look out to the beartooths and see how far you can see. Because if you can see out to the beartooths the air quality is pretty good."

The pulmonologist said residents shouldn't be able to see the air they're breathing.

  • LocalMore>>

  • Wyoming's Black Footed Ferrets introduced to new national park in Argentina

    Wyoming's Black Footed Ferrets introduced to new national park in Argentina

    Friday, September 22 2017 12:45 AM EDT2017-09-22 04:45:50 GMT
    Friday, September 22 2017 12:45 AM EDT2017-09-22 04:45:50 GMT

    Wyoming’s Black Footed Ferrets, and Yellowstone’s wolves may have inspired the return of wildlife to a new national park in Argentina. Organizers are calling it the largest reintroduction program in the Americas. The 2,000,000 acre park, called Ibera, is now home again to animals that had been extinct there for many years. 

    >>

    Wyoming’s Black Footed Ferrets, and Yellowstone’s wolves may have inspired the return of wildlife to a new national park in Argentina. Organizers are calling it the largest reintroduction program in the Americas. The 2,000,000 acre park, called Ibera, is now home again to animals that had been extinct there for many years. 

    >>
  • Shriners help families who can't afford to pay for medical treatment

    Shriners help families who can't afford to pay for medical treatment

    Friday, September 22 2017 12:39 AM EDT2017-09-22 04:39:28 GMT
    Friday, September 22 2017 12:39 AM EDT2017-09-22 04:39:28 GMT

    Shriners in Billings held a dinner event at the Al Bedoo Shrine Temple Thursday night. The event preceeds next week's free children screening clinic at Riverstone Health.

    >>

    Shriners in Billings held a dinner event at the Al Bedoo Shrine Temple Thursday night. The event preceeds next week's free children screening clinic at Riverstone Health.

    >>
  • Your money: Tips to help manage your money

    Your money: Tips to help manage your money

    Friday, September 22 2017 12:37 AM EDT2017-09-22 04:37:46 GMT
    Friday, September 22 2017 12:37 AM EDT2017-09-22 04:37:46 GMT
    Managing your money can be really hard to do. Are you wondering what you can do to effortlessly manage your money? We have a couple of hacks that can help you with that. First thing you can do is get the app for your bank on your phone. This makes looking at your spending super accessible. Next, make a budget spread sheet. This will allow you to be able to keep track of your spending. Lastly, changing your password on accounts can also help save you from being a victim of fraud. >>
    Managing your money can be really hard to do. Are you wondering what you can do to effortlessly manage your money? We have a couple of hacks that can help you with that. First thing you can do is get the app for your bank on your phone. This makes looking at your spending super accessible. Next, make a budget spread sheet. This will allow you to be able to keep track of your spending. Lastly, changing your password on accounts can also help save you from being a victim of fraud. >>
  • MontanaMore>>

  • Stabbing at Billings Bar Sends Two to Hospital

    Stabbing at Billings Bar Sends Two to Hospital

    Friday, September 22 2017 4:25 AM EDT2017-09-22 08:25:30 GMT
    Friday, September 22 2017 4:29 AM EDT2017-09-22 08:29:49 GMT

    It happened at Daisy Dukes. 

    >>

    It happened at Daisy Dukes. 

    >>
  • Wyoming's Black Footed Ferrets introduced to new national park in Argentina

    Wyoming's Black Footed Ferrets introduced to new national park in Argentina

    Friday, September 22 2017 12:45 AM EDT2017-09-22 04:45:50 GMT
    Friday, September 22 2017 12:45 AM EDT2017-09-22 04:45:50 GMT

    Wyoming’s Black Footed Ferrets, and Yellowstone’s wolves may have inspired the return of wildlife to a new national park in Argentina. Organizers are calling it the largest reintroduction program in the Americas. The 2,000,000 acre park, called Ibera, is now home again to animals that had been extinct there for many years. 

    >>

    Wyoming’s Black Footed Ferrets, and Yellowstone’s wolves may have inspired the return of wildlife to a new national park in Argentina. Organizers are calling it the largest reintroduction program in the Americas. The 2,000,000 acre park, called Ibera, is now home again to animals that had been extinct there for many years. 

    >>
  • Your money: Tips to help manage your money

    Your money: Tips to help manage your money

    Friday, September 22 2017 12:37 AM EDT2017-09-22 04:37:46 GMT
    Friday, September 22 2017 12:37 AM EDT2017-09-22 04:37:46 GMT
    Managing your money can be really hard to do. Are you wondering what you can do to effortlessly manage your money? We have a couple of hacks that can help you with that. First thing you can do is get the app for your bank on your phone. This makes looking at your spending super accessible. Next, make a budget spread sheet. This will allow you to be able to keep track of your spending. Lastly, changing your password on accounts can also help save you from being a victim of fraud. >>
    Managing your money can be really hard to do. Are you wondering what you can do to effortlessly manage your money? We have a couple of hacks that can help you with that. First thing you can do is get the app for your bank on your phone. This makes looking at your spending super accessible. Next, make a budget spread sheet. This will allow you to be able to keep track of your spending. Lastly, changing your password on accounts can also help save you from being a victim of fraud. >>
  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • Man arrested in North Spokane for assaulting ex-girlfriend

    Man arrested in North Spokane for assaulting ex-girlfriend

    Friday, September 22 2017 2:25 AM EDT2017-09-22 06:25:16 GMT
    Man arrested in North Spokane for assaulting ex-girlfriendMan arrested in North Spokane for assaulting ex-girlfriend

    SPOKANE, Wash. - On September 21st, just before 5:30 pm Officers responded to a home in the area of Mansfield and Ash. A woman told police that her ex-boyfriend, 22-year-old Brandon Vanlanham, was assaulting her. The woman stated she had a restraining order against Vanlanham, which Police confirmed. When officers arrived to the home, they discovered that Vanlanham had fled the scene.  About two hours later the woman called 

    >>

    SPOKANE, Wash. - On September 21st, just before 5:30 pm Officers responded to a home in the area of Mansfield and Ash. A woman told police that her ex-boyfriend, 22-year-old Brandon Vanlanham, was assaulting her. The woman stated she had a restraining order against Vanlanham, which Police confirmed. When officers arrived to the home, they discovered that Vanlanham had fled the scene.  About two hours later the woman called 

    >>
  • Toddler dies after being hit by truck in church parking lot

    Toddler dies after being hit by truck in church parking lot

    Thursday, September 21 2017 8:21 PM EDT2017-09-22 00:21:04 GMT

    PARKLAND, Wash. (AP) - An 18-month-old girl has died after she was struck by a truck in the parking lot of a church in Parkland. The Pierce County Sheriff's Department says the girl was taken to a hospital late Tuesday where she died of her injuries. The department says a 35-year-old female driver had been parked in front of the Lamb of God Christian Community Church Tuesday night. After talking to a relative, the woman pulled her truck 

    >>

    PARKLAND, Wash. (AP) - An 18-month-old girl has died after she was struck by a truck in the parking lot of a church in Parkland. The Pierce County Sheriff's Department says the girl was taken to a hospital late Tuesday where she died of her injuries. The department says a 35-year-old female driver had been parked in front of the Lamb of God Christian Community Church Tuesday night. After talking to a relative, the woman pulled her truck 

    >>
  • Argument between friends outside Buffalo Wild Wings ends in shooting

    Argument between friends outside Buffalo Wild Wings ends in shooting

    Thursday, September 21 2017 5:20 PM EDT2017-09-21 21:20:42 GMT

    SPOKANE VALLEY, Wash. - Detectives arrested a 42-year-old man for two counts of 1st Degree Assault Wednesday night after an argument turned violent. The Spokane Valley Police Department says Chad Dobson asked a friend to meet at Buffalo Wild Wings Wednesday night to talk about the victim's treatment of his soon-to-be ex-wife. 

    >>

    SPOKANE VALLEY, Wash. - Detectives arrested a 42-year-old man for two counts of 1st Degree Assault Wednesday night after an argument turned violent. The Spokane Valley Police Department says Chad Dobson asked a friend to meet at Buffalo Wild Wings Wednesday night to talk about the victim's treatment of his soon-to-be ex-wife. 

    >>
HD DOPPLER 6i
/
  • Regional NewsMore>>

  • Florida Georgia Line drummer performs, shares inspirational message with elementary students

    Florida Georgia Line drummer performs, shares inspirational message with elementary students

    Thursday, September 21 2017 7:15 PM EDT2017-09-21 23:15:58 GMT
    Thursday, September 21 2017 7:15 PM EDT2017-09-21 23:15:58 GMT

    Florida Georgia Line visited Tri-Cities for a concert at the Toyota Center but drummer Sean Fuller got an early start on the day. 

    >>

    Florida Georgia Line visited Tri-Cities for a concert at the Toyota Center but drummer Sean Fuller got an early start on the day. 

    >>
  • Flood-Damaged Vehicle Scam Warning

    Flood-Damaged Vehicle Scam Warning

    Thursday, September 21 2017 6:28 PM EDT2017-09-21 22:28:11 GMT
    Thursday, September 21 2017 7:05 PM EDT2017-09-21 23:05:25 GMT

    Tips on how to not fall victim to scammers who take flood-damaged vehicles and make them look like new.

    >>

    Tips on how to not fall victim to scammers who take flood-damaged vehicles and make them look like new.

    >>
  • Man Faces 26 Felony Charges

    Man Faces 26 Felony Charges

    Tuesday, September 19 2017 7:51 PM EDT2017-09-19 23:51:22 GMT
    Tuesday, September 19 2017 8:03 PM EDT2017-09-20 00:03:55 GMT

    Court documents involving Charles Green have been obtained by KULR-8.

    >>

    Court documents involving Charles Green have been obtained by KULR-8.

    >>
  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • Stabbing at Billings Bar Sends Two to Hospital

    Stabbing at Billings Bar Sends Two to Hospital

    Friday, September 22 2017 4:25 AM EDT2017-09-22 08:25:30 GMT
    Friday, September 22 2017 4:29 AM EDT2017-09-22 08:29:49 GMT

    It happened at Daisy Dukes. 

    >>

    It happened at Daisy Dukes. 

    >>
  • Billings human trafficking trial continued until 2018

    Billings human trafficking trial continued until 2018

    Thursday, September 21 2017 3:25 PM EDT2017-09-21 19:25:13 GMT
    Thursday, September 21 2017 3:25 PM EDT2017-09-21 19:25:13 GMT

    A federal judge has continued the trial of Terrance Tyrell Edwards until January 29, 2018. Edwards was arrested on Human Trafficking charges involving three minors. in Billings last year.

    >>

    A federal judge has continued the trial of Terrance Tyrell Edwards until January 29, 2018. Edwards was arrested on Human Trafficking charges involving three minors. in Billings last year.

    >>
  • SWX Live Stream

    SWX Live Stream

    Watch live SWX events from your computer.

    >>

    Watch live SWX events from your computer.

    >>
  • Police Officer Fights to Keep Service Dog

    Police Officer Fights to Keep Service Dog

    Thursday, September 21 2017 12:47 AM EDT2017-09-21 04:47:37 GMT
    Thursday, September 21 2017 12:51 AM EDT2017-09-21 04:51:08 GMT

    A police officer in Red Lodge is suing the city tonight and is fighting to keep her K-9 companion.

    >>

    A police officer in Red Lodge is suing the city tonight and is fighting to keep her K-9 companion.

    >>
  • Mountain lion spotted in Laurel

    Mountain lion spotted in Laurel

    Wednesday, September 20 2017 12:50 PM EDT2017-09-20 16:50:48 GMT
    Wednesday, September 20 2017 12:53 PM EDT2017-09-20 16:53:28 GMT

    A mountain lion has been spotted in Laurel multiple times over the past week. 

    >>

    A mountain lion has been spotted in Laurel multiple times over the past week. 

    >>
  • Helena man gets 10 years for child pornography

    Helena man gets 10 years for child pornography

    Thursday, September 21 2017 10:34 PM EDT2017-09-22 02:34:38 GMT
    Thursday, September 21 2017 10:34 PM EDT2017-09-22 02:34:38 GMT
    29-year-old Domenick James Howard of Helena was sentenced Thursday in federal court for possession of child pornography. According to the Department of Justice, Howard entered a guilty plea on May 31st. This, after Howard was arrested for a probation violation in April of 2016. At that time, his electronic devices were seized and searched. Examiners state they found image and video files depicting children engaged in sexually explicit conduct. At least one file showed images of a fema...>>
    29-year-old Domenick James Howard of Helena was sentenced Thursday in federal court for possession of child pornography. According to the Department of Justice, Howard entered a guilty plea on May 31st. This, after Howard was arrested for a probation violation in April of 2016. At that time, his electronic devices were seized and searched. Examiners state they found image and video files depicting children engaged in sexually explicit conduct. At least one file showed images of a fema...>>
  • Flood-Damaged Vehicle Scam Warning

    Flood-Damaged Vehicle Scam Warning

    Thursday, September 21 2017 6:28 PM EDT2017-09-21 22:28:11 GMT
    Thursday, September 21 2017 7:05 PM EDT2017-09-21 23:05:25 GMT

    Tips on how to not fall victim to scammers who take flood-damaged vehicles and make them look like new.

    >>

    Tips on how to not fall victim to scammers who take flood-damaged vehicles and make them look like new.

    >>
  • Yellowstone County Detention Facility looking for new officers

    Yellowstone County Detention Facility looking for new officers

    Tuesday, September 19 2017 12:23 AM EDT2017-09-19 04:23:23 GMT
    Tuesday, September 19 2017 12:23 AM EDT2017-09-19 04:23:23 GMT

    The Yellowstone County Detention Facility is seeing some changes. Sheriff Mike Linder said there are openings for six new detention officers.

    >>

    The Yellowstone County Detention Facility is seeing some changes. Sheriff Mike Linder said there are openings for six new detention officers.

    >>
  • WyomingMore>>

  • Wyoming's Black Footed Ferrets introduced to new national park in Argentina

    Wyoming's Black Footed Ferrets introduced to new national park in Argentina

    Friday, September 22 2017 12:45 AM EDT2017-09-22 04:45:50 GMT
    Friday, September 22 2017 12:45 AM EDT2017-09-22 04:45:50 GMT

    Wyoming’s Black Footed Ferrets, and Yellowstone’s wolves may have inspired the return of wildlife to a new national park in Argentina. Organizers are calling it the largest reintroduction program in the Americas. The 2,000,000 acre park, called Ibera, is now home again to animals that had been extinct there for many years. 

    >>

    Wyoming’s Black Footed Ferrets, and Yellowstone’s wolves may have inspired the return of wildlife to a new national park in Argentina. Organizers are calling it the largest reintroduction program in the Americas. The 2,000,000 acre park, called Ibera, is now home again to animals that had been extinct there for many years. 

    >>
  • Your money: Tips to help manage your money

    Your money: Tips to help manage your money

    Friday, September 22 2017 12:37 AM EDT2017-09-22 04:37:46 GMT
    Friday, September 22 2017 12:37 AM EDT2017-09-22 04:37:46 GMT
    Managing your money can be really hard to do. Are you wondering what you can do to effortlessly manage your money? We have a couple of hacks that can help you with that. First thing you can do is get the app for your bank on your phone. This makes looking at your spending super accessible. Next, make a budget spread sheet. This will allow you to be able to keep track of your spending. Lastly, changing your password on accounts can also help save you from being a victim of fraud. >>
    Managing your money can be really hard to do. Are you wondering what you can do to effortlessly manage your money? We have a couple of hacks that can help you with that. First thing you can do is get the app for your bank on your phone. This makes looking at your spending super accessible. Next, make a budget spread sheet. This will allow you to be able to keep track of your spending. Lastly, changing your password on accounts can also help save you from being a victim of fraud. >>
  • Flood-Damaged Vehicle Scam Warning

    Flood-Damaged Vehicle Scam Warning

    Thursday, September 21 2017 6:28 PM EDT2017-09-21 22:28:11 GMT
    Thursday, September 21 2017 7:05 PM EDT2017-09-21 23:05:25 GMT

    Tips on how to not fall victim to scammers who take flood-damaged vehicles and make them look like new.

    >>

    Tips on how to not fall victim to scammers who take flood-damaged vehicles and make them look like new.

    >>