British Columbia is once again faced with a state of emergency due to the current wildfire situation. The smoke which has encompassed much of Kamloops and the surrounding areas contains tiny particles as well as a combination of gases. These particles can cause irritation to healthy lungs and make pre-existing lung conditions much worse. I’ve seen many patients recently who report difficulty breathing, irritated nose and eyes, fatigue, headaches, nausea and sore throats. So what can you do naturally and at home to mitigate the effects of wildfire smoke?
Below are 7 recommendations to support lung health which are safe for the whole family.
1. Limiting time outdoors:
Last week Environment Canada posted that the Air Quality Index was 322 – this is definitely hazardous to your health! Staying indoors, limiting or avoiding any strenuous activities outdoors and making sure to change the air filter on your furnace at home can all help to prevent extra strain on your lungs.
Making sure you’re drinking lots of water throughout the day is an easy way to help your body naturally detox (1oz of water per kilogram of body weight). Most of us don’t drink enough water, so an easy way to increase your consumption throughout the day is to carry a water bottle with you. Additional hydration can also include drinking tea with marshmallow root and licorice root – both herbs are soothing to the lungs.
3. Vitamin C:
This natural anti-oxidant will help your body neutralize those particulates so they don’t do further damage to your lungs. I also offer high dose Vitamin C IVs in my clinic which quickly and easily boost your immune system and lung health.
4. N-Acetyl Cysteine (NAC):
NAC is a natural antioxidant and a precursor molecule to make glutathione. Glutathione is the most critical antioxidant produced by the human body. NAC also helps loosen mucus in the lungs allowing you get rid of that mucus when you cough.
5. Thyme and lavender steam inhalation:
Adding thyme and lavender to hot water and creating a steam inhalation is a great way to prevent lung infections while also calm the nervous system. Thyme is an anti-fungal, anti-bacterial herb, while lavender relaxes the lungs allowing the thyme to be properly dispersed.
6. Nasal rinses with saline
It’s easy for smoke to irritate the nasal sinuses and leave particulate behind. So one of the easiest ways to clear the nasal passages is to use saline, or salt water, in a neti pot and do a nasal lavage. This helps to clear the particles from your nose thus reducing irritation to the eyes and lungs.
7. Bath with Epsom salts and Rosemary
Cleansing baths are a great way to clear the entire body of toxins while also helping to relax the nervous system. Add epsom salts and rosemary essential oil to your bath. The rosemary encourages blood flow throughout the body which helps transport oxygen to all your organs while the epsom salts help relax your muscles.