PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) -- Air quality in Oregon is measured to be the worst in the world, as wildfires continue to burn across the state.
As we continue to have hazardous air quality from the wildfires, what kind of long-term effects will this have on our health?
FOX 12 spoke with Doctor Akram Khan, a lung disorder doctor for Oregon Health & Science University.
"Probably just where we are is like smoking somewhere between 10 to 30 cigarettes a day," Khan said.
Khan says this doesn't concern him at this point.
"I don't think that smoking you know a pack a day for 10 days is going to be a major long-term effect for healthy individuals. But if this level of pollution persists or becomes more frequent, we could run into problems," Khan said. "If this keeps happening we are going to have long term effects and this has been shown in cities like Beijing and New Delhi where pollution levels are very high there have been long term effects on the health of individuals from the air pollution."
But there are short-term effects.
Khan says at the current air quality levels we've been at for the last few days, even people with normal lung conditions may experience irritation, a cough, runny nose, redness of the eyes and headaches.
He says people with lung conditions are particularly vulnerable, that includes people with COPD, asthma and cystic fibrosis.
MAP: Oregon air quality
Khan says during the pandemic, the hazardous air quality adds more complication.
"When you are more vulnerable because your airways are inflamed because of the increase in particulate matter from the smoke you're just much more likely to have a respiratory illness," Khan said.
Khan says exposure to smoke will likely increase the chances of getting COVID-19.
Here are some tips to limit your exposure, Khan says:
- Stay indoors.
- Keep windows and doors closed as much as possible.
- Make sure you have a supply of medications.
- Change air filters if you have them.
- Use an N95 mask if you're exposed to the smoke for long periods of time.
- If you're a pet owner, make it a short walk for your animal.
Khan says he's noticed the duration of wildfires and smoke has increased over time on the West Coast.
He says if it continues, we should expect to see more long-term health impacts for the community.
More: Coverage of wildfires
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