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Take Care Of Your Lungs; Stay Away From The Smoke!

By: Harrison Threlfall

In recent weeks, toxic levels of smoke have been seen all throughout California. This has led to cancellations of many outdoor activities, such as team sports that are beginning to practice in this time of COVID. The high amount of smoke is the result of record-high wildfires in California this year. 

Although this smoke is most dangerous to sensitive populations, such as the young, elderly, or folks who have sensitive lungs as a result of a medical condition, the levels of smoke that have been seen in previous weeks are enough to cause damage to anybody.

It has been advised to stay inside because of this toxic smoke, which has been hard for many people considering that spending time outdoors has become an activity that is important during the Coronavirus pandemic. 

The CDC has confirmed that the things that Wildfires burn through such as houses, cars, farms, and other personal properties can release chemicals that are toxic. Inhaling these toxic chemicals over long periods of time is really bad for your health.

Sean Gubera, a Sonoma County athlete said “The smoke has affected my training by slowing, then stopping it altogether. It has set me back several weeks but it always could've been worse so I'm grateful that it only affected my training.” 

The smoke clearly has negative effects on everyone by limiting outdoor time, and athletes, in particular, will face consequences from it. This particular athlete sacrificed some training in order to stay healthy for the long term so that when it is time to train again he won’t experience any long-term effects that smoke can have on your lungs. 

Emily Pile, who is a student at HHS describes her experience by saying “I've gotten some headaches from it (The smoke). I also think it’s strange to look outside and see an orange sky.” This is a good example of how smoke will not only have effects that can be painful but that it can also be distracting.

 People who live in lower-income households that have worse ventilation and air filtration systems will feel these effects more than anyone else. The smoke can cause symptoms that can make it hard to focus in school, which is something that is important for teachers to recognize in these times.

The smoke started to diminish in the previous week, based on evidence from the Purple Air Map, an online tool for tracking air quality. This week in Sonoma County there has been a wind shift that is bringing some smoke back towards Healdsburg. The wind can be unpredictable and it is advised to check air quality in your area regularly during this time. Unfortunately, wildfire season is far from over, and it is likely that there is much more smoke to come. It is important to remember to stay safe and healthy by avoiding the smoke when it is at toxic levels.

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