“Respiratory Health and Wildfires” took place in the regions of Drafi, Rafina-Pikermi, Anthousa, and Pallini in Attica, Greece on the world respiratory health awareness dates in September 2022. These regions are frequently affected by wildfires, most recently, in July 2022, wildfires in these regions had a significant local ecological impact, including extended deforestation and desertation of the area and resultant loss of wildlife, as well as local socioeconomic suppression with the destruction of multiple private properties.

The initiative, led by the Respiratory Physiology Laboratory of the Medical School of the University of Cyprus in Nicosia, aimed to screen the population that resides in these regions for possible lung diseases. Patients and individuals at high risk were properly informed, educated, and aware about the harmful effects of air pollution due to wildfires on the lungs.

The events took place during the world respiratory health awareness days in September 2022 at the following places:

  • 7th of September 2022 (International Day of Clean Air): Public Square with Citizens Entertainment Centre
  • 24th of September 2022: Pharmacy
  • 25th of September 2022 (World Environmental Health Day): Public Square with Citizens Entertainment Centre
  • 26th of September 2022 (Environmental Health Day): Pharmacy

The screening of the local population was done using a portable spirometer, and questionnaires about respiratory health. Based on the results, the individuals were further advised to attend a respiratory health professional if needed. Across all the sessions, a total of more than 100 local citizens of the target areas were involved in the activities, and all of them were educated about the measures needed for the prevention of wildfires and their harmful effects on respiratory health. More importantly, 58 individuals were additionally screened by the use of spirometry and questionnaires. Those that presented abnormal spirometric findings and/or reported severe respiratory symptoms, were advised to seek healthcare at respiratory health professionals.

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