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.