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Brush fires – How would you cope?

Most of my state is on fire right now thanks to a terrible drought. Our local experts are saying it will get worse before it gets better. 

It's not smoky here but I know there are fires not too far away. And we are dealing with high pollen right now too. My asthma started flaring up yesterday. I'm not sure if it's fire related or pollen and busy holiday weekend related. I'm just curious if any of you have dealt with local brush fires and how you managed to keep your asthma under control. Staying indoors and keeping the windows closed are obvious, but is there anything else you've done in a situation like this?

 

Thanks!

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  • Shea

    Hi TLB2002, 

    Boo on the fires! I would keep a mask handy. I have a few masks. I have a more stlish one I carry in my purse in case I am out running errands and need one (   ). I have a few cheap disposable ones for cleaning. But for smoke, I just read:

    for wildfire smoke:How to Choose the Correct Mask to Protect Your Lungs• Choose a mask called a “particulate respirator” that has the word“NIOSH” and either “N95” or “P100” printed on it. These are sold at manyhardware and home repair stores and pharmacies.• Choose a mask that has two straps that go around your head. DONOT choose a mask with only one strap or with straps that just hookover the ears.• Choose a size that will fit over your nose and under your chin. It should seal tightly to your face. These masks do not come in sizes that fit young children.• Do not use bandanas (wet or dry), paper or surgical masks, or tissues held over the mouth and nose. These will not protect your lungs from wildfire smoke.How to Use a Mask• Place the mask over your nose and under your chin, with one strap placedbelow the ears and one strap above.• Pinch the metal part of the mask tightly over the top of your nose.• The mask fits best on clean shaven skin.• Throw out your mask when it gets harder to breathe through, or if theinside gets dirty. Use a new mask each day if you can.• It is harder to breathe through a mask, so take breaks often if you work outside.• If you feel dizzy or nauseated, go to a less smoky area, take off your maskand get medical help.• If you have a heart or lung problem, ask your doctor before using a mask.

    I think I would have one on hand if I was in your situation, as well as make sure I carried my meds and rescue inhaler everywhere, and had plenty of fresh non expired doses.

  • K8sMom2002

    TLB2002, I'm with Shea — boo on wildfires!

    Shea's suggestions on keeping a mask handy is a good one.

    Also, do you have an air cleaner or use an allergy air filter in your HVAC system? I'd make sure that the filters are clean and fresh and new and have a back-up on hand for your HVAC system just in case. 

    If you're in the market for an air cleaner or an air filter,  may be of help. 

    The asthma & allergy friendly™ Certification Program, administered by the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA) in partnership with the international research organization, Allergy Standards Limited (ASL), is an independent program created to scientifically test and identify consumer products that are more suitable for people with asthma and allergies. You can find certified products and services such as carpet cleaning, flooring, vacuums and more at .

    I'd also circle back to your doctor and ask whether your asthma action plan needs tweaking. Regardless of whether it's smoke from the wildfires or from the high pollen, we need to follow our plan and report back to our docs if we're struggling to control our asthma. Your doctor may suggest some temporary changes in your medications or treatment plan until the wildfires and/or high pollen get under control.

    Are the wildfires close to you? Do you need any disaster planning tips? AAFA's blog post about  has some great ideas!

  • Jen

    tlb2002 – Are you able to stay home while the air quality is bad?

  • Kathy P

    How are the fires? Any lingering effects? I know when we get fires here, things can hang in the air for a long time….it can also takes weeks for them to completely get the fire out.

  • tlb2002

    Thankfully, the fires have not affected my area and my asthma as much as I expected. I think they have gotten some of them under control. Most of Florida is on a burn ban. Our pollen counts have started dropping so I think that has helped too. But I am keeping an eye on it because we have hardly any rain in the forecast for the next two weeks. 

  • Kathy P

    That's good to hear! Our area is currently low fire danger since we had such a wet winter. We'll have to see how this fire season goes – hopefully it will be fewer than usual.

  • K8sMom2002

    Florida can definitely be at risk for fires — all those lightning strikes! But I'm glad to hear that things are looking up!

    Good to hear about the pollen counts! What's your worst pollen to deal with?

  • tlb2002

     

    I tested pretty high to trees but they haven't bothered me as much lately until this year. Probably because it's been so dry. But ragweed is by far the worst for me, so I have that to look forward to in the fall. LOL.

  • Kathy P

    Ooh fun! I don't even recall which weeds I tested high on. Trees are q biggie fir me and especially the olive family that is currently blooming.

  • tlb2002

    How much more do you have of your tree season? Ours seems to be ending and moving to grasses.

    I despise ragweed. It used to give me a terrible case of bronchitis every September until I figured out how to be proactive and get ahead of it. I hate to even go outside in the fall. If there was ever a campaign to eradicate ragweed, I would throw lots of money at it. LOL.

  • Kathy P

    Ya know, that's a good question!I probably should look that up!I'm about to head to the east coast for 10 days and of course, I'm allergic to everything there too. Ugh!Being proactive is a good plan and one I usually try to follow. I used to get at least 1 bout of bronchitis a year until I was formally diagnosed with asthma and started on preventative meds.

  • Pljohns

    Here's the mask I purchased to wear in construction

    You get some weird looks wearing it but the filters can be washed twice and you can get ones that totally eliminate smells-I can attest to that!

  • K8sMom2002

    @tlb2002, what's your strategy for getting ahead of ragweed? I need to talk with our doctor about helping DD get ahead of grass season … bahia grass is everywhere around here, and she is particularly allergic to it. 

  • tlb2002

    @K8sMom2002, for DS and I, you could set the calendar by when we got sick from ragweed. We would both get sinus infections and/or bronchitis at the very end of August to early September. So about a month to two weeks before, the doctor adapted our treatment plan for that time period (basically adds a few more meds to the arsenal).

    We sometimes add in a sinus saline rinse and limit time outside (like we wouldn't attend two outdoor events two days in a row). We also keep the windows closed, shower immediately after being outside for a long time, wipe down the dog after she's been outside, stay inside if a lot of mowing is going on in the neighborhood, etc. 

    I also watch breathing and coughing very, very closely during ragweed season and am quick to pull out the quick-relief inhalers at even the thought of a cough or wheeze. Teenage boys find this a bit annoying, by the way. LOL

    We do this before the season and during its peak. We taper off when the ragweed numbers start to drop. Since I started this, we haven't had a sinus infection or bronchitis since. Now my son will still miss a day or two due to an asthma episode in September but at least he doesn't get sick like he used to.

    I hope that helps!

  • K8sMom2002

    Glad I'm not the only one who lets herself be ruled by pollen reports! Especially when DD's asthma was not so great and we had more of an issue with sinus infections, there were days in the summer when I would tell her sitter, "Sorry, no outside playing today."  

    I like the way you and your doctor have worked out a pre-emptive strike! Ours involves different steps, but it's the same principle — lowering the level in our "allergy bucket."

  • tlb2002

    @Jen, not after the past several days. Most of the state has been soaked with rain! We still have rainfall deficits but several counties lifted their burn bans last week. Thankfully, the rainy season has finally started. 

  • Kathy P

    Glad the fire danger had mostly passed. We are just heading into ours. And with the really wet winter, there is a lot of potential fuel.Does your area have a lot of burns? Do you get affected by that?

  • tlb2002

    Good luck! How long does the season last for you?

    Not usually, as far as I know. This has been an odd year. 

  • K8sMom2002

    I do hope fire season is kinder on everyone that it has been in recent years. A friend of mine who recently traveled to Tennessee said that many of the cabins she'd stayed in over the years were gone because of the recent fires. And I know that the Okeefeenokee Swamp can generate a huge amount of smoke when a lightning strike or a careless camper gets something started. 

  • tlb2002

    We have some controlled burns and some small fires caused by lightening in a nearby county but it hasn't affected us. But we have rain and high humidity! Nothing like stepping out into a 90+ degree day and feeling like you are in a sauna. LOL.

    Last week, I saw on that ragweed is already starting at low levels here. It should climb by the end of the week. I could cry! Ragweed is our biggest offender. I hate it! 

  • K8sMom2002

    No wildfires around here, but I have seen fire warnings out — which is weird because it's so humid and sticky. We've had some horrible lightning storms lately, and that always worries me.

    @tlb2002, on the ragweed. What's your best strategy for dealing with it?

  • tlb2002

    We usually start taking our daily antihistamine in the morning in addition to our nighttime doses (based on our doctor's recommendation). We also add Flonase to our routine and limit our time outside (which isn't hard because it's so dang hot).

    I also keep masks on hand for mowing and weedeating. I also have nasal saline rinse packets on hand too. If the medication and avoidance isn't helping enough, the saline rinse will usually give us the edge we need to avoid sinus infections and bronchitis. 

  • K8sMom2002

    Sounds like a plan! Maybe you could start a thread about ragweed — I'll bet you're not the only one who battles the stuff!

  • Jen

    @Mandy I saw on the roll call thread that you've been dealing with forest fires.  What do you do to deal with the effects?