By Jacqueline Quynh

DENVER (CBS4) – It seems every summer where fires ravage the mountains, Coloradans question if the smoke is making them feel uncomfortable.  However this year some are asking, could it be symptoms of COVID-19.

From eyes to lungs, people CBS4 talked with say if it’s not the heat, then the smoke is making them feel differently.

“I have really bad allergies ever since I started,” Luis said.

Luis is working on renovating a home in North Denver. He wears glasses and has noticed his eyes have been pretty red since fires grew.

“There’s not much I can do,” he figured.

Dr. Anthony Gerber, a lung specialist with National Jewish Health has gotten numerous calls about the air quality from patients.

 “Anytime there’s air pollution it’s a whole mix of particulates, around Denver there’s also ozone pollution,” Gerber said.


he dirty air he explained, can cause inflammation in the respiratory system, which can cause coughing or serious breathing issues for those with lung conditions. But, what if it’s COVID-19 symptoms?

“The answer is for the air pollution if you’re someone who exercises, you notice yourself coughing and you don’t feel sick beyond what you would expect, then you’re probably okay.”

Gerber also said, symptoms of COVID-19 often include loss of smell or a fever.

”Again the things to look out for with COVID, are more severe symptoms, feeling systemically ill, as opposed to just having a little bit of a cough,” he said.

As to whether people should avoid being outside, or even going for a jog, Gerber thinks it’s okay unless the air quality changes to unhealthy.

”We don’t think that for someone who is generally healthy that exercising for a few days or a few weeks in this kind of air pollution is going to cause long term damage to your lungs.”

Of course he acknowledges, it’s each individual’s personal decision if they want to leave their house when the skies look smoky as they do now. However, he recommends against going outside when the air quality is unhealthy and beyond. He also warns groups of people who have a lung condition or have kids, 6 months and younger to exercise more caution, and in some cases check-in with their physician.

Jacqueline Quynh


Leave a Reply