Covid-19 has been on our minds for months, but now, wildfire smoke and poor air quality are adding to the list of public health concerns.
“Each one of them has the potential to exacerbate the other,” according to Senior Director of Quality at Yakima Valley Farm Workers Clinic Lori Kelley.
Smoke in the air can make Covid-19 worse and put people with the virus at a higher risk for complications.
“It could be worse for anyone right now if they’re exposed to poor air quality and they have any type of irritation or their immune system is decreased due to inflammation from the air quality,” Kelley says.
The Yakima Health District says breathing in smoke can weaken your lungs and immune system, and make you more susceptible to respiratory illnesses like Covid-19.
Plus, some people most at risk for complications related to coronavirus could also have more severe reactions to poor air quality.
“For people who have a bad underlying lung disease, I think it’s worth taking much more caution during days like this when the air quality is really bad,” says UW Medicine Dr. Andrew Luks with Harborview Medical Center.
Kelley says it’s still important to keep masking up, even though a regular mask won’t help much when it comes to air quality.
“The cloth face coverings may not be effective for wildfire smoke,” she says.
N-95, the type of mask that will protect you from smoke, is in short supply due to Covid-19, so health officials recommend staying at home as much as possible, and turning your air conditioner on while you’re inside.
Author: Madison Brown
Title: Health experts say poor air quality can make Covid-19 worse