Brushfires affecting asthma sufferers - | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Brushfires affecting asthma sufferers

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By Fatima Rahmatullah

CHATTANOOGA (WRCB) - If you suffer from asthma, the area wildfires are likely causing you some problems. 

The brushfires in Hamilton County are literally making people sick.  The fires are contained, but doctors say the smoke is still choking the Scenic City.

"Very violent sneezing, very stuffy nose. My eyes had been pouring water and shortness of breath," are just some of the asthma symptoms bothering Angie Hester.  She thought they had something do with her normal allergies, but she was wrong. 

"It was not an allergic reaction, that my allergies should be okay, but it's an irritant reaction from the stuff in the air," says Hester. 

Brushfires forced her to take out her inhaler. 

"I would have to use my rescue inhaler, which I haven't done within the past year," says Hester.  She made an appointment with her doctor. 

"There has been increase in the amount of patients coming with asthma related symptoms," says Allergist and Asthma Specialist Dr. Lee Perry. 

Dr. Perry says when you have asthma, your airways are super sensitive. The lining swells, the muscles tighten up, making it hard to breathe. And it's a lung disease that cannot be cured, only controlled.

"Smoke is a trigger for asthma symptoms and potentially allergy symptoms. Smoke inhalation where you breathe in the smoke from the fires and the symptoms are similar to that to regular asthma treatments," says Dr. Perry. 

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