Labor Day this year also meant laboring to breathe

19-year-old Kayla Benjamin was out having fun at the annual Stockton Black Family Day.

19-year-old Kayla Benjamin was out having fun at the annual Stockton Black Family Day.

But it was no fun over the weekend, when after years of suffering from breathing problems, she was finally diagnosed with asthma.

"I was spitting up blood. So that's when they found out just from me coughing so much and so hard," said Benjamin.

Right now is the trifecta of bad air: Heat, smog and smoke.

"When you have bad air quality and you have patients with respiratory diseases that are prone or more susceptible to air quality," said Sacramento city firefighter Eric Chase.

He should know. He chases fires during the summer heat in full protective gear.

He’s very wary of what nasty air can do.

"If you notice any of the slight symptoms, difficulty breathing, maybe just tight lungs. Call us as soon as you can," says Chase.

The bad air caught Cindy Mata of Stockton off guard. Her allergies suddenly got worse as the bad air quality spiked.

"I would say since Thursday. I don't know what it is. I can not take enough allergy medicine. Nothing helps at all," says Mata.

So what can you do to limit the bad air you breathe?

Spend more time indoors, choose easier outdoor activities, like walking instead of running and plan outdoor activities at times when ozone levels are lower, like the morning or evening.

Kayla Benjamin’s advice is don’t wait when you find yourself laboring to breathe.

"Just get it checked out to be on the safe side. I was dealing with this for years and never knew," says Benjamin.

© 2017 KXTV-TV


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