CDC warns about risks of wildfire smoke, COVID-19

Wildfires

An American flag alongside OR 126 McKenzie Highway. September 12, 2020 (ODOT)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Although smoke from wildfires across Oregon started to abate Friday, health officials at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are still warning about the risks of wildfire smoke and coronavirus.

“Wildfire smoke can irritate your lungs, cause inflammation, affect your immune system, and make you more prone to lung infections, including SARS-CoV-2, the virus that cause COVID-19,” according to the CDC’s website.

The CDC also warned that while cloth masks are effective in slowing the spread of COVID-19, they offer little protection against wildfire smoke.

Air quality levels across Oregon have ranged from hazardous to unhealthy since last week as wildfires spread following a historic windstorm on Labor Day.

Although a weather system bringing rain has helped clear the air of wildfire smoke, air quality alerts are still in effect for much of the state through Saturday evening.

Click here for more CDC guidelines on wildfire smoke and COVID-19

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