Can wildfire smoke make you sick? Yes, and not just firefighters. As wildfires burn larger areas in the U.S., health risks increase along with them. We know that wildfire smoke damages the lungs. New research also suggests that, in addition to carrying burnt organic matter and gases, wildfire smoke contains microbes as well. These particles go up into the atmosphere and travel for hundreds, even thousands of miles. And if these particles carry pathogens, then wildfire smoke can make you sick.
Microbes in Wildfire Smoke
Wildfire smoke is bad for asthma sufferers, no doubt, but new research suggests that it impacts the immune systems of children as well. It’s a bad thing made even worse by the presence of bacteria and fungi. These tiny organisms survive intense fires that destroy many thousands of acres of vegetation. It’s not because they have superior resistance to heat. It’s because of the varying degrees of heat found within the fire itself. While a fire may burn intensely in one area, it may lead to incomplete combustion in another. This allows microbes to attach to charred particles. Researchers believe that these microbes follow updraft winds and then travel for hundreds of miles. This is how wildfires can make you sick even if you live in a different part of the country.
Getting Sick from Wildfire Smoke
In addition to airborne pathogens, dangers exist closer to the ground too. For example, during a wildfire, the Coccidioides fungus gets ripped from the soil when hot air rises near the surface and more air rushes in. This breaks the fungi up into even smaller particles. When firefighters breathe these particles into their lungs it can lead to a condition called valley fever. This type of wildfire sickness causes shortness of breath and fever and even pneumonia or meningitis. Firefighters face these risks as a part of their job, but people living within a 50 or 100 miles radius may also be at high risk of getting sick from wildfire smoke.
Protect Your Home
It’s important to test for the presence of wildfire smoke in your home. This is true even if you live a few states away from a burning wildfire. And if the test comes back positive, air-cleaning devices keep you and your family from getting sick from wildfire smoke.
Test for Wildfire Smoke
A home smoke test allows homeowners to collect samples and get results from an Environmental Diagnostics Laboratory (EDLab) within 3-5 business days. These easy-to-use kits identify wildfire smoke and provide complete instructions with chain of custody documentation.
Cleaning Inside Air
Air purifiers with Carbon Filtration + HEPA Filtration + Bipolar Ionization technologies trap harmful chemicals and microbes so wildfires won’t make you sick. They work in areas between 300 and 700 square feet and up to 1400 square feet.
Protect Yourself from Wildfire Smoke!
If you believe wildfire smoke is making you sick, find out for sure. Order a home smoke test kit and air purifier today. Call us at 727-572-4550 with questions.