• Smoke fills the air in Rabun County as seen from Rabun County Primary School on Thursday at 2:30 p.m. (Klark Byrd/The Clayton Tribune)
    Smoky Clayton
  • The sun takes an eerie orange hue in the Tallulah River Road area as smoke fills the air Thursday morning. (Klark Byrd/The Clayton Tribune)
    Smoky Tallulah River Road

Smoky air a health risk for certain people

The air in Rabun County is heavy with smoke from numerous forest fires in the area and in Macon County, North Carolina.

Dr. Lloyd Stuart, a physician at Mountain Lakes Medical Center, said the smoky air can be dangerous for people with pre-existing respiratory conditions such as asthma, emphysema, bronchitis or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

“If you have COPD or any other lung conditions, the smoke can dangerously exacerbate the problems,” Stuart said.

He advised people to stay inside as much as possible to reduce the health risks of the smoke, and advised people with indoor air purifiers to utilize them.

The health risks are more pronounced for elderly and young children, Stuart said.

For people without any pre-existing conditions, the health risks are extremely minor.

“You might experience watery eyes or a scratchy throat and coughing, and it could exacerbate some allergy symptoms, but that’s about it,” Stuart said. “They still shouldn’t be out in the smoke too much though.”

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