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Erie doctor speaks on health effects, those effected by recent poor air quality

By Matt Mathias,


The National Weather Service issued an air quality alert for Erie and Crawford Counties Wednesday prompted by the Canadian wildfires.

Some are saying they have been able to even smell the air pollution like you were at a backyard fire.

We spoke to a doctor working with LECOM’s Senior Living Center and some people spending time outside to get their thoughts on our current air quality.

Everyone could experience health issues at this time, but those most at risk should be extremely cautious when spending time outside.

Temporary burn ban announced for City of Erie

Have you noticed the haziness off in the distance as you’ve been out traveling?

It’s only gotten worse since last week as smoke from Canadian wildfires in Quebec have worked its way south into the United States.

It’s impacting air quality and causing health risks for many including those with asthma, children and our elderly population.

“I’m a geriatrician, I work with older adults, and they tend to have a lot more medical conditions than the average person,” Seth Carter, D.O. of osteopathic medicine at LECOM.

Code Red Air Quality Alert issued for Erie, Crawford

But those aren’t the only people at risk; other medical conditions struggle with poor air quality as well.

“Air pollution can affect those with heart disease, it’ll even effect those with diabetes because as they age, their body doesn’t have the same capacity to compensate for poor air quality.” Dr. Carter said.

Carter said it’s important for those with risk factors to limit their exposure. Stay indoors, close windows, and utilize filtered air conditioning.

But some are still brave enough to take to the outdoors.

Erie region facing moderate risk of fire danger with burn ban in effect

We spoke with a few people who were biking at Presque Isle, and they shared with us that they weren’t sure if what they were feeling was from the wildfires, or just allergies.

“I’ve noticed that our allergies are a lot worse with all of this smoke in the air,” said Diane Glass, a Millcreek resident. “We’re worried about the people with asthma and the breathing. Some of our friends are having trouble breathing.”

And beyond being concerned about the air quality, some are worried fires like what Canada is seeing could happen locally.

“Everything is so bone dry. There are no puddles, everything’s bone dry, the swamps are dried up, and if there’s fires around here also, it would just be a wildfire,” said Ed Glass, another Millcreek resident.

Thursday, the air quality is projected to be better than Wednesday but has a chance to turn poor again by Friday.

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