Health department warns about poor air quality due to smoke from Junkins Fire

Smoke from the Custer County fire is visible in Pueblo. / Mike Duran - FOX21 News
Smoke from the Junkins Fire is visible in Pueblo. / Mike Duran - FOX21 News

PUEBLO, Colo. — The Pueblo City-County Health Department is warning residents about the effects of poor air quality caused by the Junkins Fire.

Smoke from the fire may cause breathing difficulties. If you can see or smell smoke, the health department recommends taking precautions.

For children, elderly, and people with respiratory conditions:

  • If possible, stay inside with the windows and doors closed.
  • If you need to run a cooling or heating system, keep the fresh air intake closed and the filter clean to prevent outdoor ash or smoke from getting inside.
  • If you do not have an air conditioner and it is too warm to stay inside with the windows closed, try to get involved in activities that offer air conditioning, such as public places.
  • Drink plenty of water. Avoid alcohol or liquids containing high amounts of sugars.
  • Children are more likely to be affected by health threats from smoke because their airways are still developing and because they breathe more air per pound of body weight than adults. Children also are more likely to be active outdoors.
  • Older adults are more likely to be affected by smoke, as they have higher levels of heart or lung diseases than younger people.
  • Follow your doctor’s advice about medicines and about your respiratory management plan if you have asthma or another chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Call your doctor if your symptoms worsen.

For others:

  • When smoke levels are high, even healthy people may experience coughing, a scratchy throat, irritated sinuses, shortness of breath, chest pain, headaches, stinging eyes, and a runny nose. Limit outdoor physical activities and stay indoors if at all possible.
  • Wildfire smoke contains pollutants that can be harmful to health. Particles from smoke tend to be very small and can therefore be inhaled deep into the lung and may represent a greater health concern than larger particles. Even in healthy people, this can cause temporary reductions in lung function and pulmonary inflammation. This can also affect the body’s immune system.

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