Children with respiratory problems doubles in parts of Bay Area due to poor air quality

ByAnser Hassan via KGO logo
Wednesday, November 14, 2018
EMBED <>More Videos

Poor air quality is causing the number of children with respiratory issues to double in some parts of the Bay Area.

PALO ALTO, Calif. (KGO) -- Ravi Sathyam says his young daughter been coughing-- a lot. He thinks it's linked to the poor air quality due to the smoke from the Camp Fire, which is burning in Northern California.

"She had a cough and bit of a fever, so, (we) decided to get her checked," says Sathyam, who brought his daughter to Sutter Health's Palo Alto Medical Foundation.

RELATED: Check current Bay Area air quality levels

Doctor Kellen Glinder, a pediatrician at the care center, says they are seeing twice as many kids with respiratory issues for this time of year.

"When they are running, or laughing, if that's triggering a cough, I'm immediately worried about their lungs," says Dr. Glinder.

RELATED: Doctor compares Bay Area Air Quality to Delhi due to Camp Fire smoke

The likely cause is the poor air quality caused by the Camp Fire. Dr. Glinder says it's especially worrisome for babies and young children, because their lungs are still growing. When the air quality index is over 51, it's a problem. When it's over 100, it gets dangerous.

"When it gets over 100, it starts to be dangerous for the developing lung, for sure! This weekend, we have been at somewhere between 160 and 180," he explains.

Symptoms can include rashes, headaches and mood swings. Dr. Glinder says one or two weeks of bad air likely won't cause long-term damage, but still advises parents to still get their kids checked.

RELATED: Smoke from California wildfires travels across US to Chicago

"The longer you're breathing polluted air the higher the risk of damage," he says. "You never know if you're going to be that person who gets really affected by this or not. People can get surprised. So, it's better to be cautious."

The doctor says it's a good idea to keep kids inside but says indoor air quality can be bad, too. To help with that, keep doors and windows closed, and make sure no one smokes indoors when kids are around.