The compounded dangers of wildfire smoke and COVID-19

People on the west coast of the United States were already dealing with the ravages of the novel coronavirus COVID-19; Washington state was an early hotspot, and California as a whole had significant spikes in cases and deaths. Then, the wildfires hit. Unchecked forest fires in the region, fueled by dry tinder conditions, have swept through the region, casting an orange haze of sooty smoke up and down the coast and well inland. So, residents didn’t just have to contend with one airborne issue, but two.

Wildfires and Covid

While the smoke from wildfires compromises the respiratory systems of residents, there’s another alarm: according to researchers, the smoke from these wildfires may also increase risks of contracting COVID-19. Cheryl Pirozzi, a pulmonary physician at the University of Utah says a combination of particulate matter found in the smoke from wildfires suppresses a person’s natural immune system, making people more susceptible to the coronavirus. What’s more, people who already had COVID-19 may develop long-term conditions that put them at greater risk of lung and breathing problems during upcoming wildfire seasons.

To stave off the effects, researchers suggest residents stay indoors as much as possible. If people do need to go outside, don’t use those cutesy cloth masks available at the checkout in convenience stores. Instead, wear N95 filtered face masks that are rated to block PM2.5 particulate matter when outdoors. Additionally, they recommend using air purifiers with HEPA filtration indoors, to remove as much of offending contaminants as possible.

For example, portable AeraMax Professional commercial-grade air purifiers have a unique four-stage HEPA filtration system, effectively and efficiently removing up to 99.97 percent of airborne contaminants, like smoke, viruses, odors, allergens and bacteria from indoor air in enclosed spaces, making for easier breathing and better indoor air quality.