As smoke lingers in the Inland Northwest, doctors say everyone i - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

As smoke lingers in the Inland Northwest, doctors say everyone is susceptible to symptoms

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SPOKANE, Wash. -

Air quality in the Spokane area remains at an unhealthy level as of Tuesday night.

Officials with the Spokane Regional Clean Air Agency say they are using a series of filters and other tools to measure the air quality index.

"What that means is we have a network of strategically placed monitors that are going to capture what the ambient levels are for our entire airshed," said Lisa Woodard. "We take the highest reading from all of our monitors and that is what we report for our air quality index."

And if those numbers come back higher than 150, Woodard says they're unhealthy for everyone. And doctors agree.

"Even our avid runner have to worry about it," said Pulmonary and Critical Doctor, Jiten Patel. "If you’re on the trail and find yourself tight-chested, maybe shortness of breath, that doesn’t mean asthma it means the smoke is causing airway irritations."

Dr. Patel says while everyone should be cautious, those with asthma, COPD, or other lung disease or breathing problems are most at-risk.

"You can imagine some of those dust particles settle in the upper airways and that causes progressive symptoms," said Dr. Patel. "If you see smoke out there and find yourself congested, stay hydrated keep yourself out of that environment."

Dr. Patel says the best way to alleviate symptoms is to stay inside and drink lots of water, but over-the-counter Zyrtec or anti-histamines can help. He says to stay away from cough suppressant medicine and always check with your provider.

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