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California issues air quality warnings

Earlier in August, a NASA satellite captured images of smoke hovering over central California. Air quality districts are warning people to stay inside. Sports, summer camps and other outdoor activities are canceled until further notice. Toxic smoke continues to cause major problems in communities.

And fire season is not letting up this year. Tinder dry conditions and strong winds have contributed to the most deadly fires in state history.

Individuals with cardiac problems are now at higher risk of a stroke or heart attack. Children, pregnant women, the elderly and those who deal with asthma face an increased risk of health problems. Despite various health backgrounds, anyone is susceptible to risks from the smoke. Common symptoms can include eye irritation, breathing problems and coughing.

Physicians and air quality experts recommend people with health issues keep medications close by, especially for bad air days. They predict most breathing problems associated with the smoke will be short-term.

Every day, firefighters battle the risks of smoke inhalation

Unfortunately for California firefighters, staying indoors is not always an option. Specialized masks offer some protection. A properly fitted respirator can block out 95 percent of smoke particles. Regardless, sometimes safety equipment fails and firefighters suffer from the effects of smoke inhalation.

A decade or so of smoke exposure can increase the risk of diseases and mortality by 22 to 24 percent. This can be a serious concern for firefighters who have been serving their community a number of years.

If you are a California firefighter and suffer from a health issue or injury caused by smoke inhalation, it’s important that you receive adequate care. It can be frustrating when claims are disregarded due to incorrect medical records or misreported incidents. However, you deserve to recover after putting your life on the line. You should never settle for a denied claim. Be sure to explore your legal options.