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Colorado Respiratory Doctor Offers Advice To Curb Symptoms From Bad Air

DENVER (CBS4) - When the smoke from California's wildfires rolled into Colorado on Saturday, the air quality plummeted and stayed that way most of the day Sunday. All over the state doctors and meteorologists warned people to stay in and not perform strenuous activity or risk illness and discomfort.

What if you are feeling symptoms like itching eyes, sneezing, sore throat, or coughing anyway?

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(credit: CBS)

"There are some pretty basic things you can do. A lot of that irritation is your body's defense against irritants," said Dr. David Beuther, a pulmonologist at National Jewish Health.

The smoke we are all breathing in is exactly that, an irritant. Depending on your symptoms there are some over the counter remedies that will bring you some relief.

"If your eyes are really irritated you can buy over the counter saline or salt water drops without medication just to lubricate dry eyes," said Beuther.

If you have a sore throat you can use lozenges. Sinus issues can be helped with a saline rinse like a neti pot or squeeze bottle, also sold over the counter. Beuther adds, "And even gargling some of that salt water solution can help your throat."

Also, a nice hot cup of tea could also help a sore throat. Plus, Colorado is a dry state, so as always drinking lots of water will help you feel better.

"It's really important to stay well hydrated. Drink a lot of fluid and also maybe think about humidifying your homes," he said.

Of course, there are some times you need to seek medical attention like if you have extreme trouble breathing or you have a chronic respiratory condition and your prescribed medication isn't helping.

"Because there may be something more going on or they may need to escalate treatment," Beuther said.

Another thing you can do is wear an N95 respirator mask when you go outdoors to filter out the smoke particles, but make sure it fits tight on your face. If it is loose or just a cloth mask it really won't help a whole lot.

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