Covid-19 and smoke is a dangerous combination, as both affect the respiratory system, making those exposed to the virus more vulnerable. Polluted air can also weaken the immune systems of healthy people, making them more susceptible to illnesses like Covid-19. And studies have shown that in areas with poor air quality, people are more likely to die if they contract the virus.
“We know that people with asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease are at higher risk for both acquiring Covid-19 and having more severe symptoms if they do become infected,” said Dr. Jeanne A. Noble, an emergency medicine doctor and the director of the Covid-19 response at U.C.S.F. Medical Center’s emergency department. “Adding smoke inhalation into the mix will further increase the vulnerability of everyone to Covid-19, but particularly for those with respiratory problems.” “We’ve been strongly encouraging everyone to take things outdoors. It’s just so much safer. And now we can’t,” she said. “It’s essentially like winter coming early.”
In previous years, people have used N95 masks or respirators to protect themselves against inhaling dangerous particles caused by wildfire smoke. Like everything these days, the pandemic has complicated things. Both the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and state public health officials are telling people to save N95 masks for workers on the frontline of the pandemic.
If you are feeling the effects of smoke, you should try other means of exposure reduction first. If you cannot reduce your exposure in other ways, experts say N95 or N100 masks will work to filter out fine particles. For people with respiratory illnesses, make sure you have enough medicine in stock and use breathing aids, like albuterol, when needed and seek medical attention if things worsen.
Oh, just terrific! (NOT!) My current respiratory problems started with the Camp Fire in late 2018. The smoke from that burning town poured right down into our valley, like it was shot through a funnel. Most mornings you couldn’t see the end of our street for the smoke. And it was shortly after that I started having trouble breathing. And now I realize I have to worry about my respiratory problems getting worse. As if I didn’t have enough to worry about!
Today is another day of eerie brazen sunlight — the sun’s light being filtered through a haze of smoke and ash. It was lovely & cool this morning — only 70°. What a relief! I got out and watered the container plants, and ran the sprinkler system. I would have loved to stay outside, open up all the doors & windows, but of course didn’t dare. So I watered as quickly as possible & raced back inside. Luckily Steve, the mail carrier, brought all my mail to the door (there as a lot today & it wouldn’t fit in the box) or I wouldn’t have been able to go get it.
And of course there’s no way I can get out and walk. So still walking in circles in the living room … boring!
Last but definitely not least!
My external hard drive has taken a dive. If I try to turn it on, it makes the computer crash — blue screen of death, which says drive power failure (dive dive dive!) The computer comes back on, but I definitely can’t even tough the external hard drive. Called Joe, my computer guy, because I was afraid the (internal) hard drive itself was going blooey. He doesn’t think so, advised to unplug the external hard drive, and that does seem to have fixed the problem. The difficulty is there are a lot of files I use on a daily basis on the external hard drive. So, Housemate is going to pay the balance of his rent today (or maybe tomorrow), I’m going to have to go to Fry’s and buy a new external hard drive, and then get Joe to transfer the files from the old one to the new one. And just when I thought I was getting caught up financially. Silly me! Of course, I should be — and definitely am! — grateful that I have enough money to fix the problem without going hungry, or not paying the bills. Maybe that’s what the Universe had in mind …
Joe is going to give me the info on getting a new tower (internal hard drive) — he know where to buy refurbished perfectly good ones for $300 or less. And since this computer is a 2005 model, running Windows 7 … I reckon it’s about time I started saving up. Don’t you?