Wildfire Season Preparations

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As we approach the end of another dry summer, the six million Californians with asthma are bracing for another season of wildfire smoke exposure. For those of us working to reduce the burden of asthma, it’s a good time to re-familiarize ourselves with some key resources:

Since the wildfire season comes as we face the COVID-19 pandemic, it is important to provide patients and families with clear messaging around masks. The cloth masks that we have been wearing to reduce the spread of COVID-19 do not protect against wildfire smoke exposure. Only N-95 masks protect against wildfire smoke, and we need to reserve those for health care providers and other frontline workers during the pandemic.

As such, the importance of staying indoors and creating healthy indoor environments is now more important than ever.

  • Many asthma programs have had success in providing portable air cleaners, along with replacement filters, to families affected by asthma. You can learn about tips  for selecting a portable air cleaner, furnace filter, or HVAC filter here.
  • This is a good time to educate families about asthma-friendlier cleaning products to use, as people increase the use of cleaning products in hopes of preventing new COVID-19 infections. You can find more information here on choosing cleaning products that will help create healthier indoor air.
  • It’s also an important time to make sure that all patients have updated Asthma Action Plans that include tips for reducing environmental triggers. The fourth page of RAMP’s Asthma Action Plan includes tips on “Controlling Things that Make Asthma Worse”, many of which focus on improving indoor air quality. Check it out!