Health officials warn about wildfire smoke and COVID-19

MEDFORD, Ore.– With the recent fires across the region, county public health officials are warning about the complications with wildfire smoke and COVID-19.

Jackson County Public Health says this wildfire season will be difficult for some because of the pandemic. N-95 and P100 masks usually used for smoke exposure won’t be readily available due to a short supply and needs by health care workers

Other masks currently being used to combat covid will not prevent smoke exposure either.

Health officials say smoke particulates are much smaller than droplets and covid masks should not be used to combat smoke.

“Planning for wildfire season you’re also still going to be planning for COVID-19,” said Tanya Phillips, Jackson County Public Health. “So each of your activities you’re going to have to take that into consideration about what is going to be best and really what it is most likely going to be making sure you do stay home.”

Health officials say recent studies suggest air pollution exposure also worsens COVID-19 symptoms.

Its asking anyone that’s vulnerable to smoke exposure stay indoors as much as possible this summer to avoid unnecessary risk.

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