Smoke from wildfires causes uptick in emergency department

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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KOTA TV) - Smoke from western wildfires visible in KOTA Territory, spark air quality concerns.

Doctors with the Emergency Department at Rapid City Regional Health Hospital, say it has impacted the health of many people in KOTA Territory.

Dr. Hinkson says the emergency room has seen in up tick in patients with mild symptoms, such as swelling eyes, and itchy skin.
But he says he is worried about people who have additional issues.

"People that I am most concerned about are those that have pre-existing asthma or COPD. If you have prescriptions for inhalers, anti-histamine or steroids, this is a good time to be using those."

Dr. Hinkson says if your eyes do start to feel itchy don't rub them, it can cause even more irritation. Instead see your physician or optometrist and they can prescribe eye drops.

But if you're short of breath or have swelling in your throat, visit the emergency department.