The devastation and loss of life caused by the wildfires in California this month has been horrifying and upsetting. As well as the terrible destruction at the sites of the wildfires, the resulting impact on air quality has had serious health implications for people hundreds of miles away from the fires themselves. At one point, the air quality in San Francisco was rated the world’s worst as smoke and particles from the fires filled the air.
People with PF are more likely to suffer problems and worsening of symptoms when breathing polluted air. Poor air quality may even be a potential trigger for PF exacerbations. Remember the patientMpower app can show you the air quality in your location. The air quality index is a measure of level of air pollution, where a higher score means more pollution and the greater the health concern.
For air quality rated orange or worse people with PF should limit their time outdoors and do any exercising indoors. You can also follow practical advice such as keeping windows and doors closed. If you are using an air-conditioner, make sure it is recirculating rather than drawing polluted air from the outside and consider using an approved mask. A surgical mask, scarf or bandana will not filter out many pollutants; a respirator mask will more effectively keep pollutants out of your airways.
patientMpower are using the information in our Digital Biobank™ to help improve understanding of the link between air quality and lung function in interstitial lung diseases. Just by using the patientMpower app you are contributing to research in this field.
by Eamonn Costello