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Poor Air Quality Spikes Hospital Visits

Health experts say there has been an increase of people going to the doctor with breathing related problems.
SLC, UTAH (ABC 4 UTAH) – Doctors say there has been an increase of people at the hospital with breathing related problems.

ABC 4 Utah talked to health experts at Intermountain Medical Center who say Utah’s air and recent wildfires has a major role in the spike. “In the last few weeks we've definitely seen an increase of people complaining of respiratory symptoms,” says Dr. Denitza Blagev, at Intermountain Medical Center.

Dr. Blagev, says most of those cases are from people with already existing breathing problems who become more affected. However, they are not the only ones. Vicki Clift Does not have a history of breathing problems, but says she just can’t seem to catch her breath. She says "I have a harder time breathing here I definitely do.”  Clift has lived in Utah over 40 years and the air quality here is significantly different then when she goes out of town. "I think even without the inversion I think it's gotten a lot worse over the last several years," says Clift.

Dr. Blagev says there are a multiple sources for the poor air quality right now including the hot weather, and particulate matter getting into the air from driving. “What we've recently really seen a lot of is really these wildfires that people are really sensitive to the smoke and it triggers symptoms to people who are susceptible,” says Dr. Blagev. She goes on to says those most susceptible are those with underline heart or lung disease.

Dr. Blagev says minimizing your exposure to the outdoors is really the best thing you can do especially avoiding outdoor exercising. “When we exercise we are particularly vulnerable to breathing in more of the pollution and ultimately we are all susceptible to the pollution whether we are symptomatic or not,” says Dr. Blagev.

Dr. Blagev tells ABC 4 Utah a lot of the people that have come in to her office are older, but even younger people can be affected by the air quality and if anyone is experiencing breathing problems to check with their doctor.

 

 

 

 

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