Smoke is a complex mixture of gases and fine particles when wood and other organic matter burn. The biggest health threat from smoke comes from fine particles. They can get into your eyes and respiratory system, causing such health problems like burning eyes, runny nose, and illnesses such as bronchitis. These particles can aggravate chronic heart and lung diseases, and are linked to premature deaths in people with these conditions.
Some people are more susceptible than others. If you have heart or lung disease, you may experience health effects earlier and at lower smoke levels than healthy people. Older adults are more likely to be affected by smoke and children are more susceptible to smoke for several reasons: their respiratory systems are still developing and they breathe more air per pound of body weight than adults.
Smoke can irritate the eyes and airways, causing coughing, a scratchy throat, irritated sinuses, headaches, stinging eyes and more! With a heart or lung disease, smoke will make your symptoms much worse. Heart disease patients can experience chest pain, palpitations, or fatigue. Lung disease patients may not be able to breathe as deeply or as usual, and they may experience symptoms such as coughing, phlegm, chest discomfort, and wheezing. When smoke levels are high enough, everyone (healthy or non-healthy) can experience some of these symptoms.