Smoke from wildfires burning in California and Colorado continues to hang over the Grand Valley. Should we be worried about our health?

In a word, yes. Smoke from wildfires contains burning particles from buildings and vegetation, which means those things are mixing with other gases and these are getting into your lungs.

Some residents are already feeling the effects of the smoke. Shortness of breath, coughing and wheezing and more and the concern is that it's going to get worse before it gets better.

Wildfire smoke has a tendency to be worse on the elderly, children and those already dealing with respiratory issues such as asthma.

One of the things you can do to help yourself is to check the air quality index through the Environmental Protection Agency. Inputting your zip code will let you know how the air quality is and how much time it is recommended you spend outdoors.

Taking precautions inside your home will help as well. Make sure the filters on your air conditioner or swamp cooler are clean, don't light candles or the fireplace and of course, don't smoke indoors.

Dust masks won't help much because it merely traps the particles, but a respirator or a mask that uses a filter can be beneficial.

Limiting your exposure as much as possible will help keep you from inhaling too much smoke, but if you are feeling overcome, can't breathe or are having heart issues, be sure to call your medical professional.

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