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Air Quality remains unhealthy for Utah as wildfire smoke lingers

Posted at 7:25 AM, Aug 09, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-09 15:53:41-04

SALT LAKE CITY — Wildfire from western states is still here Monday morning. Salt Lake City currently has the seventh worst air quality in the world among major cities, according to IQAir.

READ: Poor air quality causing worsening symptoms for some COVID-19 long haulers

Conditions are not as bad as they were over the weekend, but the Utah Department of Environmental Quality said Salt Lake County air is in the unhealthy range for all people, while the rest of the state is considered "Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups." Experts recommend staying indoors as much as possible.

READ: Utah doctors warn of health risks from wildfire smoke

State employees are encouraged to work from home.

FOX 13 News spoke to doctors who said the wildfire smoke can irritate the lungs, cause inflammation, affect the immune system and make someone more prone to infections, including COVID-19.

“Today we are really talking about the PM 2.5. Those are the fine, fine particles. Those are the ones that are small enough when you breathe in ... not only do those affect your lungs, but [they] get into the bloodstream,” said Dr. Blagev, Intermountain Healthcare pulmonary physician.

Intermountain Medical Center told FOX 13 over the weekend that several people came into their ER because of concerns from the smoke.

ER physicians say they are seeing those with underlying health issues, like chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and asthma, saying this smoke is exasperating their condition and making it difficult to breathe.

It’s even worse for those with pre-existing conditions. People with lung disease can get bronchitis or pneumonia. Someone with heart disease could suffer a stroke or heart attack, according to doctors.