Long-Term Health Effects of Wildfire Smoke, COVID, Flu Raise Concerns

"The deadly virus adds new uncertainties, while a growing body of research shows significant and enduring health risks from wildfire smoke."

"Wildfire smoke had choked the mountain valleys of western Montana for nearly two months when a team of university researchers landed in Seeley Lake in the fall of 2017. Students and faculty left  their labs behind, headed to the small community and launched a study on how the relentless wildfire smoke was affecting the health of the people breathing it.

The results of their study, published in the journal Toxics this summer, were stunning. They showed that lung function in the 100 Montanans who participated declined the year after the fires and stayed compromised the year after that, said lead researcher, Christopher T. Migliaccio, whose work at the University of Montana focuses on how environmental factors affect respiratory function and immunity, with an emphasis on wildfire smoke exposures.

"Seeing that there is this long-term effect is new," he said, in telling how the findings showed that short-term symptoms like scratchy throats and persistent coughing were only part of the story."

Judy Fahys reports for InsideClimate News October 24, 2020.

Source: InsideClimate News, 10/27/2020