COVID-19 is hard to tell from the symptoms of inhaling smoke – and flu season


Patients in Northern California, Drs. Teltail walks with symptoms at Melissa Marshall’s community clinics. They are having trouble breathing. It can also cause respiratory injury. He has a cough, and a sore throat for sure.



A person who rides a bicycle down the road: A cyclist rides along the 1 Street Bridge in Los Angeles under a foggy sky.  (Gary Coronado / Los Angeles Times)


© provided by LA Times
A cyclist rides along the 1 Street Bridge in Los Angeles under a foggy sky. (Gary Coronado / Los Angeles Times)

COVID-19 direct case? not so fast. It is a wildfire country.

Up and down the West Coast, hospitals and health facilities are reporting patients’ influx of smoke-related problems. Since the flames are largely uncontrolled between dry heat and strong winds, smoke and ash begin to settle in cities and towns hundreds of miles away, making the sky orange or gray and difficult to breathe normally.

But, Marshall said, this is only part of the challenge. Facilities already closed for testing supplies and personal protective equipment must first control COVID-19 in these patients, as many of those symptoms are similar to the symptoms caused by the virus.

“Obviously, there is an overlap in symptoms,” said Marshall, CEO of SamiCare, a collection of six clinics in Yolo County that treat mostly underrepresented and uninfected patients. “Any time one comes up with some of those symptoms, we ask ourselves, ‘Is this COVID?” At the end of the day, clinically, I still want to control the virus. ”

The protocol is intended to treat the symptoms, whatever the cause, while suggesting that the patient quarantine until the test results for the virus are returned, she said.

This is a scene in many hospitals. Administrators and physicians, in turn, quickly spread and wreak havoc with the ability of COVID-19, just won’t take a chance when they recognize symptoms that could be caused by the virus.

“We have seen an increase in patients presenting to the emergency department with respiratory distress,” Dr. and CEO of Dominican Hospital in Santa Cruz. Said Nanette Mikivicz. “Since it can also be a symptom of COVID-19, we are treating these patients as we will subject anyone under investigation for coronavirus until we can exclude them through our screening process. ” During workup, symptoms that are more specific for COVID-19 like fever will become apparent.

For workers in the Dominican, the issue quickly topped the list. The Santa Cruz and San Mateo counties have come under fire from the CZU Lightning Complex, which has burned more than 86,000 acres. Several tents standing outside the building serve as an extension of its ER waiting room. They are also used for performance that is understood to have an essential role: distinguishing symptoms of COVID-19 from those without.

New hospitals are coming to Northby Healthcare’s two hospitals in Solano County with symptoms such as COVID-19 that may actually be caused by smoking.

NorthBay’s intake process “requires calling for anyone with COVID features [a] Patient screening for COVIDs, meaning they are isolated, examined and managed by staff at specialized PPEs, ”said spokesman Steve Hebton. In two hospitals that have handled around 200 COVID-19 cases so far, the protocol is well established.

Although the West Coast is now the most square of the most dangerous times of the year for wildlife – usually from September to December – another complication for health providers remains on the horizon: flu season.

The Southern Hemisphere, whose influenza trends predate our arrival to the US generally during the summer months, has suffered much less disease this year, possibly due to restricted travel, social disturbances and face masks. But it is too early to ascertain what the US flu season will be.

“You can start seeing some cases of the flu in late October,” Marshall said, and the reality is that it is going to carry many characteristics that can also be symptoms of COVID. And nothing changes: you have to eliminate it, just eliminate the risk. ”

Mark Kreidler writes for Kaiser Health News, a non-profit news service covering health issues. It is an editorially independent program of the Kaiser Family Foundation and is not affiliated with Kaiser Permanente.

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