Department of Health warns of smoke from I-85 fire

ATLANTA — The Georgia Department of Health is warning people about the smoke and burned particles that could be in the air from the Interstate 85 fire and bridge collapse.

The department said the wind is now pushing the smoke into areas outside midtown and downtown.

“Smoke can irritate the eyes and airways, causing coughing, a scratchy throat, irritated sinuses, headaches, stinging eyes or a runny nose. People with heart disease might experience chest pain, palpitations, shortness of breath or fatigue. People with lung disease may not be able to breathe as deeply or as vigorously as usual, and they may experience symptoms such as coughing, phlegm, chest discomfort, wheezing and shortness of breath,” the department said in a news release Thursday evening.

Here are something to do help limit your exposure to the smoke:

  • Stay inside and away from the smoke.
  • Keep indoor air as clean as possible. Keep windows and doors closed. Run an air conditioner if you have one, but keep the fresh-air intake closed and the filter clean to prevent outdoor smoke from getting inside.
  • Avoid activities that increase indoor pollution. Burning candles, fireplaces, or gas stoves can increase indoor pollution. Vacuuming stirs up particles already inside your home, contributing to indoor pollution. Smoking also puts even more pollution into the air.
  • Follow the advice of your doctor or other health care provider about medicines and about your respiratory management plan if you have asthma or another lung disease.

The department says to seek medical attention if you are having difficulty breathing or if your symptoms worsen.