Los Angeles,
16:33 PM

ABC7: Unhealthy Air Quality in Southern California

ABC 7 Los Angeles recently interviewed Sam Torbati, MD, medical director of the Ruth and Harry Roman Emergency Department at Cedars-Sinai, about how powerful winds and fires in the Los Angeles area can cause unhealthy air quality for residents.

The story came on the heels of the South Coast Air Quality Management District issuing a dust advisory due to sand and dust particles that were blowing in areas of Orange, Riverside and San Bernardino counties earlier in the month.

Torbati suggests that it’s the tiny particulate materials in the air that is causing people to get sick.

“Smoke contains tiny particulate material...very irritating to the airways,” Torbati told ABC 7. “That's the thing that causes you to sneeze, become congested, develop a runny nose."

Although anyone can feel the effects of smoke, Torbati suggests that those with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) may be especially sensitive to the effects of smoke.

“They will get very symptomatic and quite sick,” Torbati said. “They really need to stay indoors."

The ABC7 story also says that both the elderly and children can be vulnerable to health threats from smoke. Experts from the Centers for Disease Control point out that children's airways are still developing, breathing more air per pound of body weight than adults. It's helpful to keep in mind that kids also spend more time outdoors.

The best advice? Cedars-Sinai experts recommend people stay indoors when the air quality is unhealthy. That means don't exercise outside, and limit optional outdoor activities. 

Watch the complete story here.

Read more on the Cedars-Sinai blog: How Does Wildfire Smoke Affect Your Health?