Wildfire smoke creates health problems for Middle Georgia

MACON, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) – “You really have to get your runs in, one way or the other, even if it means going indoors,” said Macon Tracks Running Club President FM Barron.

Running lets you get outside and train your body to get better.

“Running is a time to be alone, to accomplish your goals,” said Edge Fitness Regional Manager Tracey Eubanks. “(It’s) a satisfaction of what you feel when you’ve completed a one, or two or even 20 mile run.”

But it’s the outside part that’s the problem for Middle Georgia runners.

“The smoke makes it a lot harder to breath,” said Barron. “People have been cutting their runs short, cutting back on their intensity, and some people staying in.”

The smoke caused by wildfires in north Georgia and surrounding states has forced them over to the treadmill–which cuts out the fresh air.

But that’s a good thing right now for runners like Eubanks.

“A treadmill offers you a climate controlled atmosphere as well as a cushion so your feet aren’t striking a hard surface,” said Eubanks. “It gives you some impact resistance.”

Not just runners, but children have felt the impact over at the Pediatric ER at Coliseum Northside.

“When this particular matter goes up in the air, kids breath it in, it coats their lungs and it prevents appropriate oxygen transfer or irritates their lungs and they start to weeze,” said Coliseum Northside doctor Dr. Mickey Bansal.

Dr. Bansal has seen a significant increase in patients since the smoke rolled into Middle Georgia.

“We are actually seeing a lot of kids come in that are having respiratory issues,” said Bansal. “Now they may be known asthmatics, or they may be kids that have absolutely no history of having asthma or requiring breathing treatments.”

At least until the smoke clears, avoid being outside.

“If you have to be outside, don’t do any heavy exercise or strenuous activities that would increase your need for oxygen,” said Bansal.

Fires continue to burn in the Cohutta wilderness in Fannin County as well as across Tennessee and North Carolina.

Categories: Bibb County, Houston County, Local News

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