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Thread: Forest fires smoke, lightheaded, worried about my health

  1. #1

    Forest fires smoke, lightheaded, worried about my health

    I am a C5/6 quad with a history of pneumonia. This nasty air quality disaster has been a real eye opener for me. I knew that my lungs were weak but I had been ignoring the reality. Our air quality has been in the high "unhealthy" category since Monday and I have been lightheaded since then. Needless to say, it is very distressing, triggering the PTSD bogeymen, something I have been successfully hiding from. This limited breathing efficiency is reminiscent of having pneumonia but different in the sense that I can still take in a deep breath, yet it is slowly becoming restricted, it is not normal and I I am obviously not getting enough oxygen.

    I am staying indoors next to my air purifier. I have respirators with N95 and P100 filters, for when necessary, but I am doing my best to avoid going outside. The smoke has permeated everything you can even smell it indoors. I have upgraded my CPAP machine with a P100 filter, works great, I wish I could use it 24 hours a day.

    The forecast is for the air quality to improve by tonight. I am concerned about my lungs, will they recover from this? Besides drinking a lot of water, is there anything else I can do or should be doing?

  2. #2
    Making sure that you are taking e nice deep breaths should also help. If you are congested, you may want to try some assisted coughing. Drink plenty of water and also try to move around some - ie change positions.
    ckf
    The SCI-Nurses are advanced practice nurses specializing in SCI/D care. They are available to answer questions, provide education, and make suggestions which you should always discuss with your physician/primary health care provider before implementing. Medical diagnosis is not provided, nor do the SCI-Nurses provide nursing or medical care through their responses on the CareCure forums.

  3. #3
    Senior Member
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    I suffered the same thing, if not as severe, in my area as I was downwind of the fire near Lake Elsinore, CA. On the morning after the wind direction shifted I felt the best I had in a long time after a difficult week. I doubt there is anything you can do beyond attention to breathing exercises. They will help loosen debris in your lungs so it can be carried out. Good luck and don't worry. There's no benefit.

  4. #4
    Good news, we have been category green for a few days now. It rained yesterday and we're averaging 30 AQI (Air Quality Index) PM2.5 particles in the air. It was a stressful hellish week in category Orange and Red (the Red is bad enough to make me wheeze) but I am ready for next year. I ended up purchasing a third Honeywell HPA300 air purifier (465 square feet each). Once setup, they did the job of keeping the air in the house clean and smoke free.

    For reference:


  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by SCI-Nurse View Post
    Making sure that you are taking e nice deep breaths should also help. If you are congested, you may want to try some assisted coughing. Drink plenty of water and also try to move around some - ie change positions.
    ckf
    Thank you ckf, I tried taking deep breaths but the conditions got so bad that it prevented me from being able to take in an actual deep breath. It was a strange phenomena, the humidity was high, but the air seemed dry. I had the occasional wheezing but no congestion. The conditions demanded the drinking of plenty of water and I made an effort to be up in my chair, but I was too lightheaded to exercise on my FES bike.

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Tetracyclone View Post
    I suffered the same thing, if not as severe, in my area as I was downwind of the fire near Lake Elsinore, CA. On the morning after the wind direction shifted I felt the best I had in a long time after a difficult week. Good luck and don't worry. There's no benefit.
    Thank you for sharing. I am trying not to worry but even now, category green, I am still uneasy.

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