From Florida to Washington State, the U.S. has endured one of the worst fire seasons in recent memory.
As we've been reporting, more than a dozen wildfires are burning in Northern California alone. Fire isn't the only threat people face as the risk of smoke inhalation can be just as dangerous.
Smoke from wildfires combines various gases with fine particles, that come from burning matter: trees, plants and anything else in the fire's path.
If there's a lot of smoke in the atmosphere, it can make anyone, even healthy people, sick. Breathing it in can affect you immediately.
It can impact your respiratory system and your eyes, elevate your heartbeat and even trigger headaches and chest pain.
And if you have asthma or chronic heart and lung diseases, smoke from wildfires can make them worse.
Children and the elderly are also at increased risk.
If there are wildfires near you, keep the air inside as clean as possible by keeping windows and doors shut and the fresh-air intake on your air conditioner closed.
If there are people with risk factors in your home, consider investing in an indoor air filter. And be sure to pay attention to air quality and visibility reports. Heed any advisories from local safety officials and don't delay if you're told to evacuate.
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