Asthma problems increase around the first coast

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Enjoying the beautiful weekend weather came at a cost for some people who were struggling with what's going around.

The smoke from the wildfires remained an issue this week, according to several doctors. Surprisingly, a couple cases of the flu were reported as well.

According to the CareSpot in Mandarin, a handful of patients tested positive for the flu. A couple other patients had a stomach bug that kept them stuck inside for at least 24-48 hours.

In Clay County at the CareSpot in Middleburg, parents of kids with asthma have had a tough week. Tree pollen, spring allergens and the wildfires combined made asthma symptoms worse. Doctors say if you have had trouble breathing with the added smoke, visit your physician and get an action plan now. 

In St. Johns County at CareSpot in St. Augustine, strep throat had many people rushing into their offices. Don't ignore that sore throat or chronic cough. Doctors said it needs to be treated with antibiotics before it leads to something more serious. An increase in upper respiratory infections have also been reported and doctors suspect the smoke could be a factor.

In Nassau County at the CareSpot in Yulee, if you're wheezing, you're having trouble breathing, or you're going to bed at night with a chronic cough, physicians said the smoke from the wildfires is to blame. Sinus infections and congestion have really flared up as more allergens have been added in the air from the West Mims fire.

Doctors this week have said that immediately after they heard about the wildfires, they were worried for patients who suffer from allergies. They warn that the smoke can carry pollen- so when you breath it in, you're getting a double dose of allergens.


If you already suffer from asthma, a chronic respiratory issue or heart disease, being outdoors in the smoke and haze is the perfect recipe for disaster.


"They're more likely to be having this chronic cough and just feeling short of breath, they're wheezing, getting bronchitis easier, some are developing into pneumonia..." said Doctor Kelly DuShuttle with CareSpot. 


The list goes on. When the particles in heavy smoke penetrate your lungs, even the healthiest person can be in trouble.


"If your eyes start to itch or burn or your nose starts to burn, you may want to start to head indoors at that point," said Dr. Sunil Joshi.


On top of staying indoors, taking a shower immediately after you come in contact with smoke can help decrease your risk of health problems. Changing your clothes helps keep those particles and irritants away.


Also, keep the air in your home as clean as possible. That means making sure your windows and doors are closed and your home is well sealed.


One way to check for gaps in your home is by using the dollar bill test.


Place a dollar dill between the window and window sill. Close it and then  try to  remove the dollar. If it slides right out, you've got a gap and it's time to call a contractor to inspect your home.


The staff at Snyder Heating and Air suggests changing your filter more frequently during wildfire season. Check the filter every 30 days.


If you start to smell smoke in your home, see dust on the return grill or you feel less air flowing from your vents, it's time to replace that filter.