Health officials recommend wearing N95 masks to protect from California wildfire smoke, COVID

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BySid Garcia via KABC logo
Saturday, August 28, 2021
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As wildfires continue to rage across California, the state agency that monitors the air we breathe is recommending people wear a mask, specifically an N95 mask, to protect from damaging smoke.

MONROVIA, Calif. (KABC) -- The wildfires burning in Southern and Northern California has public health and fire officials raising concerns about hazardous smoke filling the air.

The California Air Resources Board, the state agency that monitors the air we breathe, is recommending people wear a mask, specifically an N95 mask, when the air is smoky and unhealthy.

"The reason we're sharing this information today is so people can take those pro-active steps to protect themselves now," said Amy MacPherson with the California Air Resources Board. "Air quality changes by the minute during wildfire season. One shift in the wind and all of a sudden you can get socked in with smoke before you know it. "

Health officials say wearing masks outdoors will offer a layer of protection from the smoke and COVID-19.

With smoke from wildfires filling the air, the California Department of Public Health is recommending to get vaccinated against COVID-19 and get a flu shot this fall.

"During smoky time periods your lungs are going to be dealing with clearing that - those additional particles out - and then if you encounter flu or COVID viruses, if you're vaccinated you'll be more protected that way," said Sumi Hoshiko with the CDPH.

Officials also suggest staying indoors when the air quality is poor.