BAY COUNTY Fla. (WMBB) – Allergy season is here and with it comes respiratory irritation.

But what is causing worse health effects is the smoke in the air due to the wildfires. There are some symptoms you should look out for, some may require immediate attention.

The Chipola Complex fires have caused many in Bay and Calhoun counties to evacuate. First responders make that call for residents to protect themselves as well as their breathing.

“Some of them, if they are close to the fire, might have some problems with their lungs either pneumonia or acute bronchitis,” Dr. Marwan Obid said. He is an allergy respiratory specialist in town.

Dr. Obid said the smoke from these fires causes high levels of carbon monoxide in the air.

“It will irritate their bronchioles and make you short of breath and coughing, with itchy eyes and watery eyes,” Obid said.

He said the best way to lessen these effects is to limit your amount to smoke exposure. And that is what bear creek resident John Beard had to do when he returned home.

“My wife and my daughter all came back here and spent the night, but as I said, it was too much for me with the smoke. I went to Tyndall to stay one more night,” Beard said.

And Beard is not the only noticing smoke inhalation. Dr. Obid has seen many patients in the last few days with respiratory inflammation.

“Sometimes the antihistamines, over the counter can help, but if it’s getting out of hand see your providers,” Obid said. “We will give them some antibiotics if the bronchitis is severe and sometimes we will give them some benzene just depending on the situation. It will be individualized.”

If you have underlying health conditions, like COPD and asthma, Dr. Obid said to be extra cautious and monitor your symptoms. Excess coughing or wheezing might be a sign to seek medical attention.

At home, you can limit smoke exposure by:

  • Keeping windows closed
  • Using air purifiers
  • over the counter allergy medication
  • keeping a mask over your nose and mouth