Bad Mix: Wildfire Smoke & COVID-19

Not only do we need to continue to protect our communities against COVID-19, but now there are life-threatening fires throughout the state. Some of our neighbors have had to save their lives by leaving their homes, and hoping the fire spares their property. Many of us are struggling with the poor air quality from wildfire smoke.

Hood Canal comparison: Upper Left shot from March vs. shot Sept. 11, 2020

When there is smoke in the air, and especially if you or members of your household are reacting to the smoke already, here are some things you can do to stay safe:

  • Stay indoors, with just members of your household. Remember, it is much easier to spread COVID-19 indoors than it is outdoors. And, smoke can make you more susceptible to respiratory infections like COVID-19. Protect your family from the smoke by staying inside and from COVID-19 by delaying your get-togethers until the air quality is good enough for you all to be comfortably outside.
  • Reduce outdoor physical activity. Save your walks, jogs, and yard work for a day when the air quality is better.
  • Keep indoor air clean.
    • Close your windows and doors to reduce intake of smoke. Open them back up again when the air quality is good to refresh the air!
    • Improve filtration of indoor air in your home and create a clean air room where you spend most of your time. A DIY box fan filter (see video below) can improve indoor air quality in a single room. Filtering indoor air is an effective way to reduce fine particles from wildfire smoke.
    • Avoid doing anything that may contribute to smoke or dust in the air, like burning candles or incense, smoking inside, frying or broiling, or vacuuming.
  • Keep wearing your cloth face covering to protect yourself and others from COVID-19; unfortunately, they don’t help that much with smoke.

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