Wood smoke can affect everyone, but the people known to be at greatest risk from wood smoke include: children, the elderly, people with lung disease (including those with asthma or COPD), and people with heart disease. Research also indicates that those with obesity or diabetes may also be at increased risk. New or expectant mothers may also want to take precautions to protect the health of their babies, because some studies indicate they may be at increased risk.
It’s important to limit your exposure to smoke, especially if you are more susceptible than others:
- If you have heart or lung disease, such as congestive heart failure, angina, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, emphysema or asthma, you may experience health effects earlier and at lower smoke levels than healthy people.
- Older adults are more likely to be affected by smoke, possibly because they are more likely to have chronic heart or lung diseases than younger people.
- Children also are more susceptible to smoke for several reasons:
- their respiratory systems are still developing,
- they breathe more air (and air pollution) per pound of body weight than adults, and
- they are more likely to be active outdoors.