Wood Smoke and COVID-19
According to information posted on CDC's website, if you are recovering from COVID-19, you may be at increased risk of health effects from exposure to residential wood smoke this heating season due to compromised heart and/or lung function related to COVID-19. In addition, exposure to wood smoke may make you more susceptible to respiratory infections, likely including COVID-19. Note that because particle pollution is the main component of wood smoke, most of our understanding of the potential health consequences of wood smoke exposure comes from examining research on the health effects of particle pollution.
There are various measures you can take to protect the health of yourself, your family and your neighbors from the potentially harmful effects of residential wood smoke, both indoors and out, this heating season:
- Know the health risks of wood smoke exposure, and know the difference between symptoms of wood smoke exposure and COVID-19.
- Upgrade your old wood burning device to a cleaner, more efficient appliance (gas, heat pump, EPA-certified stove).
- Employ best burn practices, including burning only dry, seasoned firewood (moisture content less than 20%) and maintain a hot fire.
- Have your wood burning appliance and chimney inspected by a certified professional chimney sweep.
- Install an air cleaner or HVAC filter to help reduce airborne contaminants in a building or small space -- including viruses and the fine particles in wood smoke. If you use a do-it-yourself box fan filtration unit, never leave it unattended.
- If smoke from a neighbor is entering your home, consider taking simple steps to weatherize your home, and open windows for fresh air at times when smoke levels are lower.
- Contact your state, local or tribal air quality agency to determine wood burning restrictions or burn bans.