Wildfire Smoke and COVID-19
What are some of the health effects of wildfire smoke?
· Wildfire smoke can irritate your lungs, cause inflammation, affect your immune system, and make you more prone to lung infections, including SARS-CoV-2, the virus that cause COVID-19.
· Fine particles are respiratory irritants, and exposure to high concentrations can cause persistent cough, phlegm, wheezing, and difficulty breathing.
· Exposure to fine particles can affect healthy people, causing respiratory symptoms and reductions in lung function. Particle pollution may also affect the body's ability remove foreign materials from the lungs, such as pollen and bacteria.
If the air is smoky and hot, what can people do to protect their health?
· The best way to protect against the potentially harmful effects of wildfire smoke is to reduce your exposure to wildfire smoke, for example, by seeking cleaner air shelters and cleaner air spaces.
• Keep in mind that while social distancing guidelines are in place, finding cleaner air might be harder if public facilities such as libraries, community centers, and shopping malls are closed or have limited their capacity.
· Home delivery is the safest choice for buying supplies; however, that may not be an option for everyone. If in-person shopping is your only option, take steps to protect your and others’ health when running essential errands.
• Stock up so you don’t have to go out when it’s smoky. Have several days of medications on hand. Buy groceries that do not need to be refrigerated or cooked because cooking can add to indoor air pollution.
· Create a “clean room” in your home. Choose a room with no fireplace and as few windows and doors as possible, such as a bedroom. Use a portable air cleaner in the room.
· Limit your outdoor exercise when it is smoky outside or choose lower-intensity activities to reduce your smoke exposure.
· If you must stay put:
• Stay as cool as possible and drink plenty of water.
• Set up an air purifier in a basement room, if possible.
For more information, check the FAQ section of AirNow.Gov
For the smoke indices interactive Colorado Map updated every 2 hours