Smoke from California wildfires increases doctor visits and blocks sun from crops

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Study shows N95 masks can reduce hospital visits for smoke inhalation by up to 40 percent

Smoke on the Monument Fire
Smoke on the Monument Fire, Sept. 18, 2021. Photo by NRIMT2-FBAN.

Recent articles on pointed out three different wildfire smoke related issues.

Smoke in California’s Central Valley increased doctor visits (Oct. 3 2021)

Dr. Praveen Buddiga, a local allergy and immunology specialist, says he saw an increase in patient visits on Friday due to the smoke sitting in the Valley.

“Today I’ve been seeing a lot of patients with cough, congestion, difficulty breathing and this is directly related to the air,” said Dr. Buddiga.

Dr. Buddiga said many of his patients have difficulty breathing, which is not surprising considering the smoke is even visible in satellite images taken from space.

Some masks can protect against wildfire smoke (Sept. 30, 2021)

Researchers found that N95 masks often used for protection from COVID-19, are effective in reducing the inhalation of wildfire smoke particles, and could reduce hospital visits for wildfire smoke inhalation by up to 40 percent. They found that surgical masks, primarily designed to keep sneeze and cough droplets from emerging in the air, do not not protect the wearer against a dangerous environment. Cloth masks used alone are also ineffective. While surgical masks by themselves were ineffective, combining them with a cloth mask to compensate for the surgical mask’s loose fit was about as effective as an N95 as long as the seal around mouth and nose was good.

Wildfire smoke is blocking Central Valley crops from the sun (Oct. 6, 2021)

…This smoke could cause some damage to the raisin and almond crops that are still drying out in the fields.

“Those two crops specifically need mother nature, as in the sun, to dry those crops out in the field, and that drying time is essentially eliminated right now with the smoke layer that we have,” said Ryan Jacobsen, CEO of the Fresno County Farm Bureau, “We’re just not seeing it, we aren’t seeing any drying taking place and that becomes very problematic especially for raisins because if they don’t dry they’re going to sit there and rot in the field. So, we’re hoping that this weather change we’re going to see take place in the next couple of days hopefully blows this smoke out of there and returns the sun to help us finish off this crop year.”

Jacobsen says the Farm Bureau’s other priority is the health and safety of farmworkers. For their protection, the bureau has been providing N95 respirators to agricultural employers.

Thanks and a tip of the hat go out to Jim.

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Author: Bill Gabbert

After working full time in wildland fire for 33 years, he continues to learn, and strives to be a Student of Fire.

One thought on “Smoke from California wildfires increases doctor visits and blocks sun from crops”

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