Smoke from the Cameron Peak and Mullen wildfires continues to flow into the Front Range, and the fine particulates can increase people’s susceptibility to severe illness from the coronavirus, public health officials said.
The smoke can be harmful to everyone, but it’s particularly damaging for seniors, children and those with heart and lung conditions — the same people who are also at added risk from COVID-19, health officials said.
Smoke sensitivity can also mimic coronavirus symptoms, Gov. Jared Polis said during a news conference Friday.
“There are a lot of folks who might have symptoms and think it’s the fires — it’s the air, and in many cases they might be right, but you need to know, because the initial symptoms are similar — shortness of breath, cough, difficulty breathing,” Polis said.
“All of those issues that are often associated with the historically poor air quality often are those early symptoms of coronavirus, and it’s important to get tested,” the governor said.
Don’t miss the latest news updates in Colorado. Sign up for free Patch news alerts and newsletters for what you need to know daily.
Coloradans are asked to avoid prolonged exertion outdoors when the air quality is poor, health officials said.
Smoke is influenced by wind and weather and can remain at consistently unhealthy levels for many days.
>> The latest air quality forecasts and advisories for the Front Range can be found here.
This article originally appeared on the Denver Patch