According to a new study published in the Science Advances journal, exposure to wildfire smoke may increase the risk of death from Covid-19. The research showed a spike in Covid-19 cases in the West due to the highly contagious delta variant of coronavirus and wildfires that rocked Washington, Oregon, and California.
The microscopic particles PM2.5, found in wildfire smoke are especially harmful to the body's respiratory system because of how deeply they penetrate your lungs. Along with its sheer density, this makes it especially dangerous for anyone who is sensitive to air pollution or has underlying respiratory conditions such as asthma.
How Does Wildfire Smoke Increase Covid-19 Vulnerability?
When inhaled, wildfire smoke irritates your lungs and causes inflammation which suppresses your immune system, making you more susceptible to infection. To better understand how exposure to PM2.5 increases covid-19 cases and deaths, the authors looked at where people were exposed in connection with when they received a positive test or died.
"We were able to create an indicator that says, This day was a wildfire smoke day, so we know that any PM2.5 measurement measured on that day ... that is probably attributable to wildfire smoke," Kevin Josey, a postdoctoral research fellow in biostatistics at Harvard University, explained.
Once inhaled, the PM2.5 in wildfire smoke enters your respiratory system and begins to clog up cells that it comes in contact with. The coronavirus may then enter the body easily because some of those cells are destroyed or blocked from performing their normal functions.
"Inhalation of PM2.5 is compromising our ability to fight the virus," says Dominici. "Right now what's really scary is that the Delta variant is even more contagious. People who are unvaccinated would be very susceptible [to COVID-19]."
Unlike other particles, the PM2.5 particles enter deep into the lungs due to their small size, which triggers an immune reaction from the body. Your entire defense system then focuses on fighting these small particles while the Covid-19 virus lurks and causes an infection.
Protect Yourself From Wildfire Smoke During the COVID-19 Pandemic
The best way to protect yourself from the dangerous effects of wildfire smoke during the Covid-19 pandemic is to stay indoors and reduce your outdoor activity. However, it's difficult to avoid being exposed due to our daily lives; work, school, etc. Therefore, you must use the right kind of face masks to prevent exposure and inhalation of smoke fumes.
The N95 face mask is different from other masks and is recommended by the CDC because of its efficient filtration of airborne particles. The N95 rating means the mask blocks 95% of all airborne particles less than 100 nm in diameter, including PM2.5 particles.
Due to its design, it provides a comfortable fit, ensuring excellent fit and seal. The mask is also equipped with a one-way valve that allows you to breathe freely while keeping the air out.
Cloth Masks Won't Protect You From Wildfire Smoke
Unfortunately, cloth masks will not protect you from wildfire smoke. Cloth masks only protect from larger particles and not the smaller PM2.5 particles found in wildfire smoke. The particles are so small that they can easily pass through the cloth material and will still enter your respiratory system. Because of this, their filter efficiency is very low and will increase your vulnerability to coronavirus.
The Blue Medical Masks Offer Half Capacity in Terms of Protection
Medical blue masks protect against airborne particles that have a diameter of 100 nm or larger. However, they do not provide any significant protection from the smaller PM2.5 wildfire smoke particles. They can reduce the exposure slightly, but they do not offer enough protection against wildfire smoke.
Get Your N95 Mask Today
Exposure to wildfire smoke has been linked with increased Covid-19 cases and fatalities. It's, therefore, crucial to wear an N95 mask to protect yourself and prevent exposure to harmful PM2.5 particles in wildfire smoke.
Be prepared with an N95 face mask from Protect Life for your family and loved ones to avoid and reduce exposure to wildfire smoke during the COVID-19 pandemic. Our masks are NIOSH-approved and can be used by everyone.
Contact us today to buy your N95 mask.