According to the New York Department of Health, smoke released from any type of fire, whether it’s forest, brush, crop, buildings, waste or wood) is a mixture of particles and chemicals. Substances found in smoke include carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide and particle matter (soot). Other chemicals found in smoke include aldehydes, acid gases, nitrogen and sulfur dioxides, benzene, toluene, and so much more. The particles released depend on what is burning, at what temperature and how much oxygen is available.
The biggest health threat from smoke is the aforementioned particle matter being released. These microscopic particles can enter your body through your lungs, your eyes and your nose. This can lead to a myriad of health problems including but not limited to:
- runny nose
- burning eyes
- difficulty breathing/shortness of breath
- chest pains
- long-term lung and heart diseases
If you live in areas that have smokey areas such as California, safety protocols including setting up carbon monoxide monitors and having in-home respirators. In the event that you are in an area that suddenly sparks a fire, leaving the premises in an orderly fashion and finding a safe area away from the smoke is the best course of action.
If you feel that you are suffering from any of the aforementioned symptoms it is imperative to speak with a healthcare professional.