Doctors: Poor air quality stemming from Canadian wildfires can significantly impact people with asthma

State officials issued an air quality advisory for New York City, recommending that New Yorkers with pulmonary problems limit their outdoor activities to a minimum.

News 12 Staff

Jun 8, 2023, 10:08 PM

Updated 350 days ago

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Doctors say the thick haze from the Canadian wildfires can have a serious impact on the health of New Yorkers who have asthma.
"Asthma can be viewed on a spectrum. While the majority are under control, it does have the propensity to go into danger zones very quickly," says Dr. Elias Youssef, of NYC Health + Hospitals.
State officials issued an air quality advisory for New York City for Thursday, recommending that New Yorkers with pulmonary problems limit their outdoor activities to a minimum. They advise staying inside places with good air circulation or air conditioning and wearing a mask when they step outside.
"It's best to wear an N95 mask. Those cloth masks that you might have do not provide enough protection from wildfire air pollution," says Lynne Bosma, of the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America.
While air pollution affects everyone, experts say communities of color are disproportionately impacted.
"There are extensively documented disparities in prevalence of asthma, mortality and health care utilization along racial and ethnic lines," Bosma adds.
Black Americans are three times more likely to die from asthma than white people, according to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America.
"Hispanics, particularly of Puerto Rican decent, have the highest rate of asthma compared to any other group in the U.S.," Bosma says.
In the Bronx, data shows that the number of people who visit the emergency department because of asthma is three times higher than the rest of the state.
"There's already a health crisis happening and right now, and with the Canadian wildfires, it's just highlighting the urgency of an already existing crisis in your local community," Bosma says.
Doctors advise anyone with a pre-existing respiratory condition to keep a close eye on their symptoms and seek medical help sooner than normal.


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