Is your throat scratchy from Colorado’s wildfire smoke or coronavirus? Here’s how to tell. | VailDaily.com
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Is your throat scratchy from Colorado’s wildfire smoke or coronavirus? Here’s how to tell.

Smoke from a plethora of wildfires around the west.
Chris Dillmann | cdillmann@vaildaily.com

The haze that’s blocking out the mountains, blue sky and even the sun across much of Colorado is full of tiny particles that are about 1/30th the width of a human hair.

They’re coming from the “biomass combustion” of wildfires in Colorado and California, and they’re so small that a mask will not stop them from going down our throats and deep into our lungs. Once there, they settle into the air sacs that get oxygen to the bloodstream. 

The fine particulate matter is the reason the air quality in Denver has been worse even than Los Angeles and New York, Beijing and Kolkata, India. 



Every day for going on two weeks, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment has placed the Front Range on an “action day alert,” meaning the particulate matter and ozone in the air is unhealthy to breathe. The worst of the air stretches from Douglas County on the south end to Larimer County up north. 

It means even healthy people should limit their time outside. And people with asthma, other respiratory diseases or cardiovascular issues should pretty much stay inside with the windows shut and the air conditioning turned on, health officials said Monday. 

Participate in The Longevity Project

The Longevity Project is an annual campaign to help educate readers about what it takes to live a long, fulfilling life in our valley. This year Kevin shares his story of hope and celebration of life with his presentation Cracked, Not Broken as we explore the critical and relevant topic of mental health.



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