Smoke, heat send dozens of Athenians to hospital

Smoke, heat send dozens of Athenians to hospital

The combination of smoke from the wildfire in northern Athens and the ongoing heatwave has sent dozens of people to hospitals in the Greek capital with breathing problems, most of them minor.

Health Minister Vassilis Kikilias and lung expert Panagiotis Behrakis visited the Sismanoglio General Hospital in Vrilissia, north of Athens, on Wednesday morning to speak with staff at one of two medical facilities that have been put on standby since the fire broke out in Varybobi on Tuesday. 

In comments to the press, Kikilias said that the EKAV ambulance service received 77 calls between 4 p.m. on Tuesday and 8 a.m. on Wednesday from people having trouble breathing. He also said that EKAV had dispatched 10 ambulances to an area just beyond the Varybobi fire to help anyone in distress.

Professor Behrakis, meanwhile, advised people suffering from heart or lung ailments and the elderly to stay cool and stay home until the smoke clears and temperatures come down to more tolerable levels.

He also warned parents in areas affected by the smoke to keep their young children indoors, saying that their height makes them particularly susceptible to smoke and ash inhalation.

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