Very unhealthy air quality taking its toll on Bay Area
SAN JOSE, Calif. - Day after day of awful air quality is taking its toll.
"I've had like three migraines this week, yup," says Sherry in San Jose.
Carbon Health, which runs urgent and primary care clinics around the Bay Area and across the country, has seen an influx in complaints. And they're not just from people with asthma or emphysema.
"What you often miss is that there's a higher risk of things that are sinus related as well. So the irritation of the air particles will cause you to have maybe more frequent headaches," says Dr. Caesar Djavaherian, Co-founder and Chief Clinical Innovation Officer of Carbon Health.
And there are more serious impacts of the air quality too.
At Stanford, doctors are seeing increases in everything from cardiac complications to strokes.
"We've noticed an uptick of upwards of 20-percent in strokes for ER visits. 10-percent increase in asthma exacerbation. And this was just after one week of when the fires started and now it's been several weeks of this," says Dr. Tina Sindher, an allergist and immunologist at Stanford University.
A Spare the Air Alert has been extended through Monday, marking 28 consecutive days of awful air.
The National Weather Service said that conditions likely won't get better until at least the middle of next week.
"I worry about my sensitive groups. I do worry about healthy individuals as well and what kind of long term immune impacts this will have on us," says Dr. Sindher.
At local hardware stores, air filters are selling out.
Outdoor Supply Hardware in San Jose says people are doing what they can to circulate air and seal up their homes.
"I've sold quite a few fans and lots of masks, kind of respirators. It seems like most of what we've been seeing is people trying to shelter in place, kinda keeping their houses closed down," says Matt Kovats of Outdoor Supply Hardware.
And that, has created one more health issue, now that outdoor activities too are off limits.
"Just your mental health. With everything being shut down and we can't be indoors and we can't now go outdoors so it's definitely affecting mental health," says Sherry.
One thing doctors want to point out: N95 or KN95 masks work best for filtering this kind of air. And they say you should definitely try to limit exercise and stay indoors if you can.