Massachusetts hospital sees uptick in respiratory illnesses amid wildfires

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Northampton, Mass.-based Cooley Dickinson Hospital has recently seen a small increase in patients with respiratory illnesses likely tied to smoke from the ongoing Canada wildfires, local news station WGGM reported July 27. 

The hospital's emergency department has seen more patients with illnesses like chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or emphysema attacks in the last few days. Typically, these types of respiratory illnesses surface during cold and flu season.

"These [current] patients had no clear sources of why their respiratory illness acted up," said Bobby Redwood, MD, chief of emergency medicine at the hospital. "So, in light of the smoke and particulate matter, that makes the most sense," he told the news outlet. 

Physicians recommend to change air conditioner filters and limit time outside to no more than 30 minutes at a time during smoky conditions to prevent such illnesses from acting up, WGGM reports. 

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