November 9, 2016

Code Orange Air Quality Alert Expands and Continues

Most of western North Carolina is under a Code Orange Air Quality Alert. This includes the following counties until midnight tonight, Wednesday, Nov. 9, 2016.

  • Madisonblog-fire-smoke-lake-lure
  • Yancey
  • Swain
  • Haywood
  • Buncombe
  • Jackson
  • Transylvania
  • Henderson
  • McDowell
  • Rutherford
  • Polk

The following counties will remain under an Orange Alert until midnight Thursday, Nov. 9, 2016.

  • Graham
  • Macon
  • Cherokee
  • Clay

Parents need to be aware that children are particularly susceptible to respiratory problems from smoke inhalation. According to Steven Julius, MD, a pediatric pulmonologist at Mission Children’s Hospital, the reasons are many:

  • Lungs are still developing in early childhood
  • Children breath more air per body weight then adult counterparts
  • Children tend to have more airway reactivity (seen with asthma, not unique to children)
  • Children tend to spend more time outdoors

Dr. Julius says that parents should assess for persistent cough, wheeze, chest congestion and nonspecific signs of respiratory distress such as:

  • Unable to complete a small sentence without catching their breath
  • Retractions
  • Increased respiratory rate
  • Grunting
  • Nasal flaring

You are encouraged to seek medical attention for any persistent respiratory symptom or signs of respiratory distress, as well as poor response to asthma rescue therapy in those children with a history of asthma. The best way to prevent symptoms is to avoid prolonged periods outdoors whenever possible on Air Quality Alert days. Click here for a quick way to check air quality.

Steven Julius, MD, is a pediatric pulmonologist at Mission Children’s Hospital. For more information, visit or call (828) 213-1740.