East Tennessee pharmacists see increase in inhaler demand

(WTVC)
(WTVC)

CHATTANOOGA (WATE) – In Hamilton County fires on Walden’s Ridge burned more than 2,300 acres. There is also a fire on Flipper Bend which is almost 100 percent contained and one on Mowbray Mountain that is about 70 percent contained.

Those fires are causing breathing problems for people in the area. Some pharmacies said they are having trouble keeping their shelves stocked with inhalers. Three stores were completely out of inhalers and several stores said they were low on their supply.

“Last night we sent a prescription to Publix and they called us back saying ‘hey we’re out’,” said Natasha Ballard, associate MD at the American Family Care on Gunbarrel Road told WTVC.

Doctors say they don’t believe they are seeing more patients because of the smoke, rather, their patients are just feeling more serious side effects.

“People who’ve gotten better are back again,” said Dr. Ballard. “The smoke is irritating, and people like my husband, who hasn’t needed medicine in 20 years, now need breathing treatments for their asthma that they haven’t needed since they were a kid.”

Doctors said they have been running treatments with an air nebulizer for patients, which has helped reduce the need for prescriptions.

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