This topic contains 4 replies, has 3 voices, and was last updated by  Stephannie Baker 8 months, 3 weeks ago.

  • Author
  • #14803
     Kathleen Sheffer 

    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 

    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 

    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 

      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 

    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!

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