Smoke is made up of a complex mixture of gases and fine particles produced when wood and other organic matter burn. The biggest health threat from smoke comes from fine particles. These microscopic particles can get into your eyes and respiratory system, where they can cause health problems such as burning eyes, runny nose, and illnesses such as bronchitis.
Fine particles also can aggravate chronic heart and lung diseases – and even are linked to premature deaths in people with these conditions.If one has heart or lung disease, such as congestive heart failure, angina, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, emphysema or asthma, they may experience health effects earlier and at lower smoke levels than healthy people.The smoke a person inhales can cause damage to the body in three different ways.
First, the smoke may actually cause burns. The smoke is carried in by hot air that can damage or destroy tissues in the mouth, nose, and upper respiratory (breathing) system.Smoke can also cause damage by irritating tissues. The materials found in smoke can betoxic (poisonous) to cells or they can cause physical damage by rubbing across tissues.Finally, smoke can harm the body because it cuts off the supply of oxygen. Cells needoxygen in order to remain alive and function normally.
If too much smoke is present inthe body, it can prevent oxygen from reaching cells. Cells and tissues then begin to die from oxygen starvation.Older adults are more likely to be affected by smoke, possibly because they are more likely to have 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’re more likely to be active outdoors.;