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    • #14803
      Kathleen Sheffer
      Participant

      Hi all,

      I’m sure you’ve heard that most of California is affected by wildfires right now. Thousands of homes have burned and the resulting smoke is producing dangerous levels of particulate matter in the air.

      The Air Quality Index (AQI) measures pollutants in the air and can help predict the danger to your health. You can check your local AQI using government sites like AirNow.

      With fine particulate matter (PM 2.5) levels above 150 (163 in San Francisco as I write this), the air quality is dangerous for EVERYONE’S health, whether you can feel it or not. I am doing everything I can to protect my sensitive (transplanted and immunosuppressed) lungs, but unfortunately still feeling the effects.

      I’ve been reading a number of scientific articles about these tiny particles. They’re lighter, travel further distances, and stay in the air longer than other pollutants. They can travel deep into lung tissue and even enter the bloodstream.

      “The particles first damage the body simply by getting inside of it –- triggering inflammatory reactions that themselves can trigger breathing difficulties, heart attacks and even strokes. Within a few days of smoke exposure, damaged lungs can succumb to bronchitis or pneumonia.” (Source: KQED)

      If you live in an affected area, please try to stay indoors. Keep doors and windows closed. Use air purifiers with HEPA filters if possible.

      If you have to go outside, wear an N95 (or higher) mask. I’m talking 3M respirators, not those flimsy surgical masks. Find them on Amazon or in a hardware store.

      Drink plenty of water. This helps clear your airways and prevents dehydration, which is especially common with exposure to smoke.

      Do you live in California? Have you experienced wildfire smoke? How do you protect yourself?

    • #14819
      Brittany Foster
      Keymaster

      Hi Kathleen,
      I can’t even imagine all that you are going through in CA!! I have a lot of friends who are affected by this and who have compromised immune systems or other health conditions that would make this especially dangerous. I don’t have any personal experience with wildfires, but I know that this isn’t the first time this has happened in CA, were you affected by the last one too?

    • #14821
      Kathleen Sheffer
      Participant

      Yeah, unfortunately this seems to be becoming our new normal. Everyone (especially those with chronic health issues) needs to be proactive about protecting ourselves from the harmful chemicals in the air. I am sending masks to my local PHriends and hoping they are able to stay indoors! It is surreal to walk outside (in my p100 mask) and see most other people wearing masks as well. Apocalyptic atmosphere right now.

      • #14826
        Brittany Foster
        Keymaster

        Wow, honestly I can’t even imagine how anxious I would be ! I’m anxious just thinking about it for you. Stay safe, I’m sure your friends are so thankful for the masks you are sending them. What can others do to help out? I know there are a few relief organizations talked about but from what would be something we could do for those with chronic illness in the community? It must be hard to get to stores for basic things, nevermind medical supplies and all that! Maybe something to donate to local fire stations or something that people would be able to go to and get. I don’t know, just thinking out loud on different ways we could help.

    • #15086
      Stephannie Baker
      Participant

      I wish you all to be safe and sound! This so unfortunate and hurting to watch people hurting and you not being able to save them!

    • #26894
      Jen Cueva
      Moderator

      This was an old post, but because of the raging fires again in California, Colorado, and other areas, I wanted to share this again. Anyone in the paths of these wildfires? If so, will you need to evacuate?

    • #26901
      Colleen Steele
      Keymaster

      @jenc I’ve been concerned too that the fires might be near some of our members. I’m keep everyone near the danger in my prayers.

    • #26909
      Jen Cueva
      Moderator

      Yes, I am thinking many may be near some fires. I, too just hope and pray that all stay safe. Anyone here living in Northern California or the areas with all of these wildfires? How do you keep yourself and your loved ones safe?

    • #26917
      Colleen Steele
      Keymaster

      @jenc when the fires get really bad in CA the smoke sometimes reached WA state. So far we haven’t experienced it this time but in the past it has gotten so bad that we had to keep our windows closed to protect Cullen’s lungs. He couldn’t go outside at all. I can’t imagine how PH and transplant patients handle living in CA where the fires actually are burning. I feel so bad for all those effected by this.

    • #26921
      Mendo Bruce
      Participant

      I am currently evacuated from my home in Northern California due to the fires. The whole town was evacuated. I am currently in a hotel about 60 miles away but the air quality here is unhealthy for all here. Even though this is a quality hotel and all doors and windows are kept closed, my breathing has most certainly been affected.

      I am having difficulty walking from the bed to the desk. A walk to the bathroom is a major undertaking. Hopefully the evacuation will be lifted within a few days but trying to get my big home concentrator loaded back into my car and then back into my home along with all my other stuff is going to be a problem.

      Trying to walk with an N95 mask is extremely difficult, if not impossible. (plus my beard and mustache render the mask ineffective).

    • #26927
      Aunt Lizzie
      Participant

      To Everyone – In the eastern part of Australia we went through the worst bushfire season I have ever seen in my long life from about Sept 2019 and into March 2020. The smoke miles away was thick and very early on I bought N95 masks and yes they are very hard to breathe with but the fires finally got rained out and I was left with a handful of masks – all ready for the Pandemic. How lucky was that. However during the bushfires I tried to buy an air purifier but could not get one for love nor money. Now they are telling us to expect more fires this coming Summer, so I am now attempting to find a good air purifier. My heart goes out to everyone affected by the awful wildfires you are experiencing – pray for rain.

    • #26933
      Jen Cueva
      Moderator

      @colleensteele, I hope that y’all do not get this residual smoke with these fires. I know this makes it much harder to breathe.

      Hi @mendo-bruce, are you alone in the hotel? I am hoping that maybe a resident can help you that may be evacuated there, too. Will that be possible? I am so sorry to hear this and pray that you will be back home soon. Take care of yourself and reach out to others if you need help.

    • #26934
      Jen Cueva
      Moderator

      Hi @auntlizzie, that sounds horrible. I hope that you will find an air purifier. It sounds like the demand is probably up like generators here in Texas. I am sending you hugs and prayers from Texas. When are you expecting the next fires there? Do you live alone, too?

    • #26944
      Colleen Steele
      Keymaster

      @mendo-bruce I didn’t think about masks not fitting properly with facial hair. My son has a mustache and beard so I’m going to have to take a close look to see how well or not his masks are fitting. My husband was on a sub in the Navy and he told me they couldn’t have facial hair for that reason. In case there was a fire and they needed to be able to have a secure fit when wearing a mask. Interesting, never thought about this until you mentioned it.

      I’m so sorry how affected you have been by the fires. Maybe when it’s time to leave you can tip someone at the hotel to help you get settled into your car? Just a suggestion.

    • #26945
      Colleen Steele
      Keymaster

      @auntlizzie I remember the reports about those fires on the news. I’m so sorry you experienced that and might again. There are so many important things that are hard to get your hands on these days. I hope you can eventually find what you need so that you can prepare!

    • #27218
      Colleen Steele
      Keymaster

      I’m bringing attention to this topic again since so many of us are still dealing with fire and smoke in California, Oregon, Washington State and Utah. How are those affected doing? Do you have any additional tips to add on how to protect yourself and your home from the smoky elements?

    • #27229
      Jen Cueva
      Moderator

      Great idea to repost this one this week, @colleensteele. So many of you are in the path of these fires and smoke. One of our colleagues in California uses an air purifier and an N95 mask indoors to help some. He is also post-transplant.

      I hope and pray that you and your family, as well as all of ore PHamily stays safe and can update us all as they can.

      Has anyone had to evacuate because of the smoke or fires?

    • #27251
      Gayle Ward
      Participant

      I’m in Seattle Washington. The air quality is bad and the smoke is heavy fog like. I’m staying inside the house with an air purifier. What a year. Pray for rain and a vaccine for COVID. Stay safe!

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