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'Perfect Storm' Of COVID-19, Allergens, Flu Launch Winter Assault On People With Breathing Problems

A man smokes an electronic cigarette.

Health officials predict that San Antonians with compromised respiratory systems may enter a “perfect storm” in the months ahead.

Environmental health experts at UT Health San Antonio said this could be the best time for smokers and vapors to quit.

Dr. Claudia Miller explained that the next few months will see the convergence of COVID-19, the flu, and cedar fever season. She said the lungs can only take so much.

Many of those hospitalized for COVID-19 have underlying conditions, such as Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, or COPD.

Miller also said that for those who endure cedar pollen allergies, they can take some simple steps now.

“For mountain cedar and other allergens," she explained, "you can stay indoors to avoid mountain cedar, and it will stop pretty much by March.”

Vaccines are available for the flu now, and COVID-19 vaccines for the general population will be available in a few months.

UT Health has an interactive text messaging program to help people stop smoking. It sends motivational messages over a four month period with links to online support. Just text “iquit” -- all one word -- to 844-332-2058 to get started.

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