CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- As smoke continues to choke Charlotte skies into a Code Red, doctors are reporting a spike in calls to their office from panicked parents and patients in distress.

“The phones have been ringing a lot,” reports Novant Health Family Medicine physician Genevieve Brauning.

“With a Code Red it can affect people with no medical problems,” she says. “Everybody is potentially at risk for symptoms.”

Brauning says she treated several patients Wednesday for acute cough or asthma attacks, problems she believes were caused by the poor air quality.

“It may be cumulative,” Brauning says. “It may be that if it was just one day of Code Red air quality, then you don't notice a lot of symptoms, but day after day after day those symptoms may add up.”

According to a spokesperson for Novant Health, other physicians are advising patients with acute respiratory problems that it is safer for them to stay home rather than brave the bad air.

Schools across North and South Carolina took extra precautions Wednesday with many restricting or eliminating outdoor activities for students.

The Carolina Panthers will play a home game Thursday in what is projected to be Code Orange air quality, which is considered unhealthy for the young, the old, and people with certain health conditions.

The team reports they are not anticipating making any changes to their staffing or sideline medical equipment for the game. Fans are encouraged to attend at their own discretion.

Timelapse video courtesy of Cathy Anderson Photography.