Oregon doctors say we’re still learning about long-term health effects from wildfire smoke

Oregon doctors think we should be treating the long-term health problems from wildfire smoke seriously. However, there hasn’t been a lot of research into it.

This year’s wildfire season wasn’t as bad as 2018, but experts still predict higher risks of big and costly fires in the future. Last year’s wildfire season cost $514.6 million, according to a report from The Oregonian.

“People with lung disease already have bad days with wildfires or not. With bad air quality, it’s added insult to their existing problem,” Dr. Paul Lewis, a Multnomah County Health officer, told The Oregonian.

Dr. Richard Leman, a public health physician at Oregon Healthy Authority, also points to evidence that shows smoke exposure in pregnant women can reduce the weight of their babies at birth.

“If you can avoid being exposed to this stuff, the better,” Leman said.

Breathing wildfire smoke can be the equivalent to smoking a pack of cigarettes a day. Those who are sensitive to bad air quality need to take extra precautions this summer, such as having a room with clean air and a HEPA air filter in homes. Also, avoid frying things on a stove or burning candles when the air condition outside is poor.