COVID-19 vs Smoke Exposure

Extreme Fire Danger - Total Burn Ban in Effect

There are some similar symptoms between COVID-19 and smoke exposure, and some differences. Individuals with existing COVID-19 symptoms or those who have previously tested positive for COVID-19 should avoid smoke exposure as much as possible, as smoke exposure can worsen existing COVID-19 symptoms. Individuals are encouraged to take the following steps:

  • Know the difference between symptoms from smoke exposure and COVID-19.
  • Some symptoms, like dry cough, sore throat, and difficulty breathing can be caused by both wildfire smoke exposure and COVID-19.

  • Learn about symptoms of COVID-19. Symptoms like fever or chills, muscle or body aches, and diarrhea are not related to smoke exposure. If you have any of these symptoms, the CDC COVID-19 Self-Checker can help you determine whether you need further assessment or testing for COVID-19. If you have questions after using the CDC COVID-19 Self-Checker,  contact a healthcare provider.

  • If you have severe symptoms, like difficulty breathing or chest pain, immediately call 911 or the nearest emergency facility.

COVID-19 Symptoms

  • Fever or chills

  • Cough

  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing

  • Fatigue

  • Muscle or body aches

  • Headache

  • New loss of taste or smell

  • Sore throat

  • Congestion or runny nose

  • Nausea or vomiting

  • Diarrhea

**This list does not include all possible symptoms. CDC will continue to update this list as we learn more about COVID-19.


Smoke Exposure Symptoms


Wildfire smoke can cause the following: 

  • Watery or dry eyes 

  • Persistent cough, phlegm, wheeze, scratchy throat or irritated sinuses 

  • Headaches 

  • Shortness of breath, asthma attack or lung irritation 

  • Irregular heartbeat, chest pain or fatigue 

  • Nonfatal and fatal heart attacks