(KRON) – An air quality advisory remains in effect for the Bay Area through Wednesday as smoke from the massive Oak Fire in Mariposa County continues to drift. KRON4 spoke with a lung specialist who says you do not have to smell smoke for it to be hazardous to your health.
For those living in East Contra Costa County in particular, wildfire smoke has lingered for nearly two months as the Marsh Fire along the Pittsburg Bay Point Waterfront continues to burn. And, just as a plan to flood the burn zone appears to be working, smoke spreading from Mariposa County into the Bay Area is compounding an already unhealthy issue.
“This is a major health effect for the entire body. This is an assault on the entire body,” said Dr. Thomas Dailey, a pulmonary and critical care medicine specialist at Kaiser Permanente Santa Clara.
Dr. Dailey has formerly served on the Bay Area Air Quality Management District’s hearing board.
“Whenever there’s an air quality alert, we see an increased number of heart attacks and strokes in patients, “ he said.
And, he says that can include people who do not have pre-existing lung and heart problems. Dailey says the particulate matter from wildfire smoke is so small that it can enter the bloodstream and cause long-term health problems.
“Bandanas or gaiters are virtually worthless in terms of protecting you,” he said. “The surgical masks have some limited benefit, but you really need an N95 mask to protect you. But even that is not as effective as avoidance.”
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The air district says the smoke is expected to remain elevated and the air quality is ranging from good to moderate on the index. But Dr. Dailey says people should still avoid exercising or any other outdoor activity until the smoke clears.