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What to know about wildfire smoke and COVID-19

During a typical wildfire season, hospitals see more people coming in for respiratory issues. The worry this year is that the smoke from wildfires could increase the severity of COVID-19 symptoms. In a helpful article, UCSF physicians explain the risks and how to protect yourself.

Here are some key takeaways:

  • Stay home, with people in your immediate family, to reduce your risk of smoke inhalation and COVID-19.
  • Tightly fitted N95 masks offer the best protection against wildfire smoke, but those with exhalation valves do not provide COVID-19 protection. Cover the valve with tape or wear a surgical mask over the N95. (If you don’t already have an N95 and do not need to be outside for an extended period of time, please refrain from buying one — these masks should be reserved for health care workers.)
  • Like COVID-19, the duration of exposure to wildfire smoke determines your risk. When possible, avoid being outside in smoke for an extended period of time.

Read the full article from the UC Newsroom

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