Kids Exposed To Wildfire Smoke Will Likely Suffer More Asthma, Doctors Say
Other public health news is on obesity, the flu and mental health.
The New York Times:
‘This Does Not Look Good For Children’: Fires Pose Risk To Young Lungs
Ian MacDonald, a 14-year-old in Portland, Ore., got a treat from his parents the other day. He was allowed to go outside. It was for less than five minutes. “I let him take out the garbage. We wore N95 masks,” said his father, Dr. Kelvin MacDonald, who has been insisting his family stay in the house as wildfires flare nearby. Dr. MacDonald is a pediatric pulmonologist, and he is concerned about the health risks to children from the ashen-thick air. (Richtel, 9/18)
Wildfire Smoke Leaves Lung Damage Long After Air Clears
When researchers arrived in this town tucked in the Northern Rockies three years ago, they could still smell the smoke a day after it cleared from devastating wildfires. Their plan was to chart how long it took for people to recover from living for seven weeks surrounded by relentless smoke. They still don’t know, because most residents haven’t recovered. In fact, they’ve gotten worse. Forest fires had funneled hazardous air into Seeley Lake, a town of fewer than 2,000 people, for 49 days. The air quality was so bad that on some days the monitoring stations couldn’t measure the extent of the pollution. The intensity of the smoke and the length of time residents had been trapped in it were unprecedented, prompting county officials to issue their first evacuation orders due to smoke, not fire risk. (Houghton, 9/18)
In other public health news —
Adult Obesity On Rise In US, CDC Says
New data released Wednesday show that adult obesity increased in the U.S., last year, while racial and ethnic disparities persist, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The findings may be especially concerning amid the pandemic as obesity lends worse outcomes from COVID-19, and minorities are disproportionately impacted by both the virus and obesity. (Rivas, 9/19)
The Washington Post:
Covid-19 Vs. Flu Symptoms: Is It Possible To Tell The Difference?
The confluence of the coronavirus pandemic and the annual flu season this fall and winter has public-health officials nervous. Simultaneous surges of both respiratory viruses — sometimes called a “twindemic” — could overwhelm hospitals, straining resources and health-care workers’ time.Infectious-disease doctors are urging people to get a flu vaccine to lower their risk of contracting influenza viruses and helping them to spread. But flu symptoms and warning signs of covid-19, the illness caused by the novel coronavirus, are similar, and it can be hard to tell the difference. Here’s how experts respond to common questions about the illnesses. (Iati, 9/18)
Listen, Open Up, Connect: A Mental Health Expert's Advice On Living Through A Crisis
Terri Cheney did not expect she would be weathering the pandemic so well. The author of Modern Madness: An Owner's Manual has been living with mental illness her entire life. She realizes now, this has been good preparation for the impositions of 2020. "With anxiety," she said, "you're used to feeling unpredictable and always being afraid of what's going to happen. With depression, there's that loss of interest in things, the lack of productivity, and the loss of hope for the future." "That's what America is experiencing right now," she says, while "these are all traits that mentally ill people have learned how to deal with." (Dangor, 9/19)