From the very start of the pandemic, scientists the world over have linked air pollution to an increased risk of Covid-19.
Even a small increase in pollution levels can increase the risk of Covid-19
Last year, a team from Harvard found that even a small increase in PM2.5 can increase the risk of death from Covid-19, perhaps by as much as 15%. In Italy, scientists from Aarhus University found that people living in the highly polluted areas of northern Italy, were more likely to experience chronic respiratory conditions, which elevated their risk of developing the more severe symptoms of Covid-19.
Covid outbreaks in Europe occurred in heavily polluted regions
In another study, this time from Germany, scientists found that 78% of major Covid-19 outbreaks in Europe, occurred in just 5 regions, all of which were heavily polluted. Lead author Yaron Ogen believes air pollution could be “one of the most important contributors” to the Covid-19 death rate.
Smoke from wildfires increases the Covid-19 risk
And now, as we face another terrible wildfire season, a study published in the Journal of Exposure Science and Environmental Epidemiology, has found that exposure to wildfire smoke can significantly increase a person’s chance of contracting Covid-19.
The study focused on around 36,000 patients admitted to a hospital in Reno, between August and September 2020. At the time, there were a number of active fires in the area, including the August Complex, the Creek fire and the Glass fire. During this time, there was an 18% increase in the number of Covid-19 cases, all in areas affected by the fires.
Smoke could increase risk in a number of ways
While there is no definitive explanation for this rise, scientists believe there are a number of possible explanations. Smoke exposure could be altering people’s immune response, making them more vulnerable to infection. Exposure to smoke may also be causing an overexpression of ACE2 respiratory cells. ACE2 is the protein that the virus connects itself to, in order to enter our cells. Covid-19 particles can also attach themselves to pollution particles, hitching a ride in this way allows the virus to spread more easily.
Whatever the reason for the increase in numbers, there is no doubt pollution has a major part to play.
Double the protection from Austin Air
If you live in an area affected by smoke from the fires, you may want to consider investing in an air purifier.
The Austin Air HealthMate Plus™ will support you in two ways. Removing smoke from your home will ensure your immune response remains healthy and therefore reduces your risk of suffering the more serious side effects of Covid-19.
Furthermore, the Medical Grade HEPA used in our filters, helps to remove viral particles from the environment when they are airborne. Lowering the viral load in this way, offers another layer of protection against the virus.
*Covid-19 is a new strain of virus that as yet, remains untested. However, the Medical Grade HEPA technology used in our filters is proven to remove up to 95% of all airborne contaminants as small as 0.1 microns.