TIPPECANOE COUNTY, Ind. (WLFI) — If you've been coughing more or have a scratchy throat, you're not alone. It could be a reaction to the air quality.
"This is not anything new, said Mark Derf with the Indiana Department of Environmental Management. "The difference this year is the magnitude. We're seeing a lot heavier smoke."
Derf said there's something in the air.
"Based on the weather patterns that are forecasted, we will see more of this wildfire smoke in our area," he explained.
Derf said wildfires out west and in Canada are causing smoke to linger over the state.
"The air quality is considered unhealthy for sensitive groups," Derf said.
He said particulates from that smoke are causing problems for those with respiratory disorders.
"When you breathe them into your lungs they can kind of adhere themselves inside the lungs and cause a lot of respiratory issues," Derf explained.
He recommends people with pre-existing conditions stay prepared.
"Anything that will help with any breathing conditions that are respiratory conditions that people may have," he said. "I think that people should have those in hand."
Derf said this is especially important to the most vulnerable age groups.
"Parents need to be vigilant, and keep an eye on their children," Derf added. "Children, the elderly, pregnant women, anyone with diabetes or as we mentioned before, respiratory or heart conditions really need to be careful."
As far as when the smoke will clear, Derf said it could be a while.
"There will be some good days and some not so good days," he said. "It looks like this plume will eventually move to the east, however, some of our longer-term maps show there are additional plumes that could impact our area as early as maybe Sunday into Monday."
He said the solution to keeping your lungs healthy is simple.
"Stay inside and limit their exposure to outside air," Derf said.
Derf said decreasing emissions is one way to help the air quality improve, and he suggests not driving as much and avoid burning wood or trash.