Story at a glance

  • Northern California’s Stanford Health Care system has seen hospital admissions increase by 12 percent over recent weeks.
  • The health care system also saw a 14 percent increase in the number of heart patients, an 18 percent increase in those with kidney conditions and a 17 percent rise in asthma cases.
  • In Oregon, air quality in the state was measured to be the worst in the world earlier this week after hitting unprecedented levels.

Massive wildfires burning across California, Oregon and Washington have blanketed the West Coast with toxic smoke, leaving the western states with some of the worst air quality in the world and threatening the health of residents. 


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A series of lightning strikes sparked record-breaking wildfires in California last month as the state experienced warm temperatures and dry conditions. Since the beginning of the year, there have been nearly 7,900 wildfires that have scorched more than 3.4 million acres in California alone. 

As the fires have left residents in a cloud of thick smoke for weeks, health officials are beginning to see the effects of the wildfire smoke that can hurt the eyes, irritate respiratory systems and worsen chronic heart and lung diseases. 

Northern California’s Stanford Health Care system has seen hospital admissions increase by 12 percent over recent weeks, including a 43 percent increase in strokes and other cerebrovascular hospitalizations, which could be related to inflammation prompted by the toxic air, according to The Guardian

The health care system also saw a 14 percent increase in the number of heart patients, an 18 percent increase in those with kidney conditions and a 17 percent rise in asthma cases, the outlet reports. 

In Oregon, air quality in the state was measured to be the worst in the world earlier this week after hitting unprecedented levels. The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality’s Air Quality Index is considered hazardous between 301 and 500. Figures above 500 — which several Oregon cities reported this week — are beyond the index’s scale. 

The massive plumes of smoke could also affect the fight against COVID-19 as the air quality poses a major threat to those with underlying health conditions already at greater risk of coronavirus complications. Exposure to wildfire smoke can weaken the immune system and cause respiratory illnesses. 


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FBI, POLICE DEBUNK REPORTS OF ‘EXTREMISTS’ LIGHTING FIRES

WILDFIRE IS LARGEST IN CALIFORNIA HISTORY AND CONTINUES TO GROW

OREGON WILDFIRES FORCE 500,000 TO EVACUATE


 

Published on Sep 18, 2020