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Helping to Breathe Easy on Ask the Expert

Helping to Breathe Easy on Ask the Expert


In the midst of a recent red air day, Intermountain caregivers talked about asthma and air quality on Ask the Expert on KUTV.

The experts gave helpful tips, words of advice and talked about the health issues that everyone can face.

Safer indoors or outdoors?

There have been warnings against being outdoors as pollution builds during inversion periods along the Wasatch Front. But are we actually safe staying indoors?

“Staying indoors is generally safer than going outdoors. Although most of the air pollution goes from outdoors to indoors. So on ‘bad air’ days even indoors the air quality is worse than on good air days,” said Denitza Blagev, MD, pulmonologist at Intermountain Medical Center.

Air filters can help protect your house. Look for certain aspects of air filters to help purchase the best quality.

“There are a variety of different filters that are available commercially and they are rated based on the size of the particles they are clearing. So the really high efficiency air filters are really good at filtering out those tiny particulates,” Dr. Blagev said.

Asthma Triggers

People dealing with asthma should all have an action plan and know the triggers to symptoms. An action plan will include medication regimens to help with breathing issues.

“Obviously this time of year the air pollution is a big trigger. In different parts of Utah its worse in some areas than others,” said Aaron Shepherd, respiratory therapist at Intermountain McKay-Dee Hospital. “The inversion can be a big issue.”

Air pollution and inversion are not the only triggers. Winter allergies and dust can all start symptoms.

Cold and flu season

‘Tis the season – for trying to avoid the cold and flu viruses.

“This time of year common colds are very prevalent and the sure way to get it is having fun with family and friends. So this time of year it’s going to be there,” said Tanner Trujillo, director of Respiratory Therapy at Intermountain Primary Children Hospital.

It’s even more important if you have children to work to keep them healthy and to help if they come down with an illness. RSV is a major concern for infants. If your child has a temperature of over 101 in infants under three months of age, then they need to see a pediatrician. For children over that age, try ibuprofen, and if the temperature does not go down, then see a provider.

Trujillo added the best protection to avoid getting sick is to “wash everybody’s hands – that’s the biggest key.”

You can find more on KUTV’s Ask the Expert site.