Haze For Days: Smoke Blankets El Paso

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POSTED: Wednesday, June 15, 2011 - 5:05pm

UPDATED: Friday, June 17, 2011 - 9:31am

EL PASO - El Paso air is usually full of dust, and now we have to worry about smoke too.

For the past couple of days, a haze set over the Sun City because of the Arizona Wallow wildfire. This morning the air didn't look too bad, but some experts say the haze is likely going to return again.

"They're predicting very poor air quality this evening, and they're predicting a lot of smoke blowing in here," Doctor Roger Menendez from the Allergy & Asthma Center said.

A map from the Southwest Coordination Center shows El Paso air could be unhealthy for sensitive people for the next 24 hours. That's something Dr. Menendez says he's already seen.

"A couple of our asthma patients this morning presented with increased symptoms, shortness of breath, more coughing, and worsening in their lung functions," he said.

So how do you know when the air is really bad?

"If you're around El Paso, anywhere in El Paso basically, and you can't see the mountain, that air is possibly unhealthy," Menendez said.

When the air is unhealthy, Dr. Menendez says you don't want to be outdoors.

"They can stay indoors, avoid activities, heavy activities, or exercising outside when the air quality is bad. The more you exercise, the heavier you breathe, the more you inhale the particles into your lungs and the more damage they can cause," Menendez said.

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