Air quality in the Midwest gets worse as wildfires rage on

LA CROSSE, Wis. (WKBT) — Wildfire smoke is making its way to the Midwest from western states.

Air quality in southeastern Minnesota is at a moderate level and the same is expected in western Wisconsin over the next few days.

Wildfire smoke can irritate your airways and some people might feel congested.

People with underlying conditions like asthma and COPD may find it harder to breathe.

“There’s also been studies showing it can actually increase respiratory infections, so it can actually increase the cases of bronchitis and pneumonia as well,” said Dayne Voelker, an allergist at Mayo Clinic Health System.

Experts say if the air quality gets worse, people should limit their time outdoors.

They say you can wear a mask, but the particles from the smoke are so fine that wearing a mask is only reducing exposure and not completely eliminating the risk.