As wildfires burn up and down the US West Coast, the National Weather Service in Sacramento is warning residents of the health hazards smoke can cause.
Here's why wildfire smoke can make you sick: Wildfire smoke includes particles from burning vegetation and building materials mixed with gases. If your eyes feel like they're stinging, smoke exposure could also be inflicting other damage. Particles could be getting into your respiratory system.
Exposure can cause chest pain, a fast heartbeat or wheezing or bring on an asthma attack. Besides coughing and trouble breathing, many people experience symptoms similar to a sinus infection, such as headaches, sore throat, a runny nose and even tiredness, according to the CDC.
Wildfire smoke can be especially harmful to the elderly, pregnant women, children and those with chronic heart and lung diseases. Because children breathe more air per pound of body weight than adults and their airways are still developing, they may experience more severe symptoms.
Those with asthma or lung disease should consult their doctors about navigating situations like this. Some people may even experience illnesses like bronchitis due to the fine particles, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.