By Thursday, this smoke will settle in a later fog in the city.
While it is still early in the 2020 wildfire season, the amount of fires – and over 2 acres – has already set records. Sickai orange-red skies and ash showers have become common places from Washington State to Southern California, and air quality advisories have been issued from Seattle to Colorado.
But the real danger for those under the smoke is not something you can capture on Instagram. It is a microscopic PM2.5 particle, small bits of carbon, 30 times smaller than the width of the hair, which can cause asthma-like symptoms in healthy people, and especially for vulnerable populations – and including death. – Worse results. And doctors on the frontline, like Toepper, worry about this unprecedented fire season, which is now accompanied by an epidemic to overcome new health nightmares.
Topper told The Daily Beast, “In this day and age, it’s hard to know if your cough is related to smoke or your asthma, or whether it’s a new COVID infection.”
Sharon Chinthraja, a pulmonologist at Stanford Health Care in Palo Alto, California, Said that some of his patients were coming up with symptoms such as wheezing, shortness of breath and runny nose – which could be the result of poor air breathing. It can also be a sign of coronavirus.
Chintharajah told The Daily Beast, “It is very difficult to ascertain whether one’s symptoms are due to COVID versus poor air quality.” “There is also Extent of underlying conditions versus wildfire and allergic symptoms resulting from release into the air. ”
Doctors are not sure if wildfire smoke can make anyone susceptible to COVID-19, although some studies have found that “it looks in places where air pollution is bad, you also get worse COVID-19.” Looking at the results, “Near Stephanie Christenson, Assistant Professor at the University of California San Francisco (UCSF).
The way PM2.5 particles are damaged is by living in the lungs, causing inflammation that can cause cough or mucus. “When they land in the lowest part of the lungs, they actually cross into the lungs through the capillaries,” Jahan Fahimi, a professor of emergency medicine UCSF. “If there is someone who is more likely to have a heart attack or a stroke – that exposure to PM2.5 has little added risk factor that they may be pushed over the edge.”
Fahimi said that it is not possible to know whether a person’s heart attack or stroke was caused by PM2.5, such that it is difficult to know whether exposure to smoke affected a bad case of COVID-19. But there is growing concern among medical professionals that smoke may cause health problems, both short-term and long-term.
“Naturally, if your lungs are already damaged, [and] You are a Kovid, you are going to get sick, ”said Topher. “This is very common knowledge.”
Such basic clothes masks that many people wore to protect them from the epidemic are actually useless against PM2.5, so experts are advising those in smoke-filled areas – one of the country’s The fourth is – stay indoors when possible. But when you say that with epidemic instructions to avoid indoor ceremonies, and the growing body of COVID-19 may be less likely to spread widely in outdoor locations such as parks, residents should say the least Can be discounted for
“We’re telling people, don’t go out in public because of wildfire smoke. And we’re telling people, don’t go in indoor places in public because of COVID.” Actually for people The only recourse is to stay indoors in your own home, and that’s not entirely possible in the long run. ”
Right now the most in danger are those who cannot go in, such as farmworkers and uneducated people working with toppers. On Thursday, he said, most of them were living inside their tents to be smoke-free, but they have no effective shelter from the air that damages the lungs – and are more like chronic lungs than the average person There is also a possibility of conditions that put them at risk.
“We know that this smoke is going to affect our population in a much deeper way than the entire population,” Topher said. “There is really no escaping it.” Everything off. You can’t go to McDonald’s. You cannot go to the library. Portland has not had shelter beds or housing for 20 years. ”
A spokesperson for Multanomah County, which provides services to illiterate people in Portland, said authorities are opening an additional 24-hour shelter location to get people out of the smoke and received a shipment of just 40,000 KN95 masks Is for street dwellers who are planning to distribute through outreach teams. (Those masks, unlike fabric masks, can filter particles if they fit properly.)
But an additional problem Topher has pointed out is that there are not enough accessible COVID-19 tests in Oregon – in so many states across the US. And if there is a fresh upsurge in people with respiratory symptoms looking for tests amid wildfires, it could create a new backlog.
“Even on a good day, you can get a test back in seven days,” Topher said. “So it doesn’t really do a lot of goodness in the moment. But yes, I have to say that people are not breathing because they can’t breathe.”