Smoke Leaves Residents Sick

You can barely make out the buildings in downtown Columbus...and visibility coming from Phenix City is slim.

A thick blanket of smoke and haze continues to hover over the Valley and now it's hurting residents' health.

Phones are ringing non-stop at The Allergy Center.

"We have had people call, particularly those with asthma that have had some breathing difficulties, shortness of breath, wheezing, coughing," says Dr. Robert Cartwright.

People like Shirley Ledger. She actually works at the Allergy Center, but is a patient today. The lingering smoke has left her without a voice.

"I have asthma and I've been having to use my rescue inhaler more and as you can tell, it's affecting my voice, and burning my throat and my eyes," says Ledger.

Dr. Cartwright says those are just a few of the symptoms people can experience.

He says allergy and asthma patients are even more susceptible to health problems from the smoke, and offers some tips to follow.

Patients should make sure to take their prescribed medication.

Keep inhalers on hand.

Close car windows and circulate air inside.

And most importantly, limit time outdoors.

"Even if you don't have bad respiratory disease underlying, it really can irritate things, cause an aggravating cough, the sore throat, runny nose, congestion, so staying away from that as best as possible would be helpful," says Dr. Cartwright.