Allergy & Asthma Consultants, PC

Top Atlanta Allergist Offers Tips for Dealing with Wildfire Smoke

Dr. Paul Rabinowitz lists steps to avoid an extreme asthma attack or allergic reaction


Atlanta, GA -- (ReleaseWire) -- 11/16/2016 --An allergy specialist in Atlanta is offering advice to suffering asthmatics and allergy patients on how to best cope with the excess smoke and airborne particulates from the wildfires in northern Georgia and other surrounding states.

As smoke from those wildfires continues to push south with no rain in sight, local allergist Dr. Paul Rabinowitz reports a significant increase in patients with smoke-related respiratory complaints, especially at his offices in Roswell and Cumming. "This is the first time we've had forest fires that led to all this smoke being up in the atmosphere and affecting all of us," he said in a recent interview. "This is like someone sitting there and smoking cigarettes and blowing it in the patients' face. Patients are coming in, they're coughing, they're wheezing, they're having asthma exacerbations."

"On top of the problem with the smoke, high fall pollen levels have not dropped. The ragweed that comes out in the fall usually disappears after the first freeze." He said we haven't had a freeze yet, so the ragweed is still in the air. And it usually clears out of the air when it rains, but the area hasn't seen significant rain in recent weeks.

Dr. Rabinowitz, a board-certified allergist, said he has not seen anything like the recent wildfires and smoke issues in the more than 30 years he has practiced medicine in the Atlanta area.

Dr. Rabinowitz offered a list of suggestions to asthma and allergy patients to better cope with the challenges caused by the wildfires:

- Set your car's A/C to recirculate air and not intake fresh air. This reduces particulates entering your vehicle, as many modern vehicles have a cabin air filter that can catch much of the particulates.

- At home, close all windows and run the air conditioner.

- Try to avoid being outside as much as possible. If you must venture outside, take your medication prior to going out (as opposed to waiting for symptoms to flare).

- Limit vigorous activity that could cause you to breathe harder, putting further stress on your respiratory system.

- Patients that use inhalers and other breathing medications, be sure to keep plenty of your meds on hand. Also check to ensure they are not expired (to offer the most effectiveness for treating symptoms).

- Some patients report success in managing symptoms by wearing a particulate respirator face mask. Be sure the mask carries the N95 designation, indicating it can filter fine particulates. (This is NOT a substitute for staying indoors, but can help when you go outside).

- Patients experiencing severe symptoms should not wait to visit a hospital emergency room, an urgent care clinic, or your primary care physician or allergist. Waiting can increase the severity of symptoms and recovery time.

While the wildfires and excessive airborne smoke and particulates can adversely affect asthma sufferers and allergy patients, even people who normally don't experience breathing problems can be susceptible, particularly children and the elderly. Dr. Rabinowitz recommends that parents follow these guidelines with their children, especially younger children and babies.

About Dr. Rabinowitz
Allergists are specialized medical doctors who undergo about two years of additional training and a fellowship in an allergy and asthma program. Dr. Rabinowitz is certified by the American Board of Allergy and Immunology and has practiced in the Atlanta area for more than 30 years, and is frequently interviewed in local and national media for his expertise on allergies, asthma and immunology.

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