DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) — Members from Ohio Task Force 1 left from Vandalia to Lahaina to help search through the rubble for survivors, and doctors say the heat and air quality will make their mission difficult.
“The body just does not work quite as well when the air is not clean because we need, you know, oxygen,” Dr. Rukan Ahmed, Kettering Health physician, said. “When we don’t get that, things don’t work quite right, and people can become very ill, not just from a respiratory standpoint, but, you know, systemically.”
After multiple days of exposure, symptoms can be a consistent cough, wheezing and shortness of breath. Ahmed says if you are in areas with poor air quality, you might need to adjust your day-to-day activities.
People with chronic health issues like asthma or sensitive respiratory tracks are usually the most at risk when facing poor air quality, but even people who are extremely healthy can be affected, which could lead to long term health issues.
It could ultimately develop into something that could turn into cancer down the line,” Ahmed said. “For many, it could lead to, you know, respiratory infections. It puts them at risk for infections that they would not normally be at risk for.”
Ahmed says the best way to make sure your breathing in safe air is to look up the latest air quality numbers on government websites such as AirNow.gov.
Ohio Task Force 1 from Vandalia is expected to be in Maui for at least several weeks as they lend a hand at the ongoing search and rescue efforts. Currently, over 1,000 people are still unaccounted for.