Respiratory issues increase as air quality worsens

N-95 mask, can be found at your local pharmacy. (KTVL) 

Air quality is getting worse, and the La Clinica wellness center in Medford has already run out of masks for their patients.

While the office is expecting more to arrive Monday evening, Matt Hogge, medical director at the La Clinica Wellness Center, says they have seen an influx of patients lately with respiratory issues. Hogge says sensitive groups should start wearing masks when they head out, specifically a N-95 mask. "Sensitive groups" includes those with respiratory issues, but also includes the kids, elderly, pregnant women, and smokers.

"We have a lot of people that have dry throat, sore throat, dry eyes, people with pressure in their chests," Hogge says. "The smoke can produce arrhythmias in people, so they will start feeling their heart beating in their chest or feeling palpitations."

The Department of Environmental Quality says the reason behind the poor air quality is from the mixture of smoke from multiple fires in the region.

"Over the weekend, I know that there was some mixing with the fire or the smoke rather from the Chetco Bar Fire and then the Eclipse Complex in Northern California. You're seeing impacts really far into the Rogue Valley."

"The people that are more susceptible to having lung conditions or pre-existing conditions, asthma or COPD, the particulates in the air tend to exasperate those types of conditions."

Other suggestions include simply staying inside for most of the day, or buying a HEPA filter if breathing issues do not subside from the smoke. Hydration is also important. Drinking enough water will flush out the body's system, bringing relief from the smoke.

La Clinica has only a limited amount of masks available, but the N-95 masks can be found at pharmacies.

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