air quality blog

Hazardous Air Quality – How to protect yourself

The wildfires have spread so fast this year, and our quality of air has been declared hazardous.  This especially true for those of us who live in Washington, Oregon, and California.  My heart breaks for both humans and animals that have been displaced.

Rob and I have countless friends who have evacuated their homes and others who have lost everything.  It’s been a trying year between COVID and fires.  I don’t dare ask, “what’s next?”   

We have all been encouraged to stay indoors. Some heeded these warnings, some individuals fled to less smoky environments, and some folks attempted to cover their faces with cloths or masks since they are readily available due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Regardless of how you chose to protect yourself from the fires, if you were here when the fires began, you were most likely exposed.

This week I have suffered terrible headaches, so chest discomfort and my eyes have been dry and feel like they are burning. 

So today, I come to your inbox to provide some tips on how to detox your bodies during and after smoke exposure is essential to both your long-term and short term health. 

Drink lots of Water
Drink Water. It’s not a new mantra.  I say it all the time, and you’ve heard it long before me.  Unfortunately, the vast majority of individuals are dehydrated.  It is mainly an issue when you’re trying to detox after the harmful effects of fire.

Wildfire smoke inhalation causes microscopic particles to get trapped in your lungs. They can get into your bloodstream and can travel throughout your body, contaminate other organs.

Water helps flush these particles from your system. As I have said in the past, you should drink half of your body weight in ounces of water (140/2=70oz).  While you’re detoxing, aim to increase your intake by at least 16 – 20 ounces each day.

Drink Hot Liquids
When there is a decrease in air quality, it can cause the cilium (plural for cilia) to stop moving.  Cilia are a short eyelash-like filament that covers the tissue of cells. When operating correctly, they beat in unison, creating a current that can move particles throughout the body.

Hot liquids can encourage the cilium to start moving again.  It can promote the movement (and removal) of mucous and saliva, which often contains high levels of contaminants.

Saline Nasal Spray 
It’s easy for smoke exposure to cause irritated sinuses, irritation to the eyes, and shortness of breath.  A saline nasal spray can help you moisten and soothe the inside of your nose.  It can promote the expulsion of foreign matter and provide immediate relief.  Make sure that you choose a natural spray, as some nasal sprays can be addictive.

Rinse Sinuses with a Neti Pot
Rob introduced me to the neti pot years ago when we first met, and now I use the neti pot every time I start to feel sick.

A neti pot allows you to perform a thorough, natural nasal rinse. It helps you remove foreign substances.  When you’re exposed to smoke, pollutants can easily get trapped in your nasal passage.  If allowed to remain, they can easily travel to the lungs and cause additional issues.

Generally, rinsing with a neti pot can reduce congestion and improve symptoms such as coughing, sneezing, and dry nasal passages.  Follow proper water guidelines outlined in the neti-pot instructions if you choose this path.

Breathe Steam with Thyme
Thyme has a wide variety of benefits, including:

  • Anti- Microbial
  • Anti-Viral
  • Anti-Fungal

Breathing steam, rich with thyme, can help expel foreign substances, clear passageways, and reduce the irritation level of your sinuses. The simplest way to create thyme-filled steam is to add 1 – 2 TBS of fresh thyme to a large bowl.  Pour in boiling water.  Lower your head, so it’s inches from the hot water. Cover head and bowl with a large towel, trapping steam under the towel.  Breathe deeply for one to two minutes.  Repeat as often as necessary.

Start eating Ginger
Ginger is another fabulous, natural detoxifier.  Not only does it contain chemical compounds that help the lungs function, Ginger also improves blood circulation. 

Ginger can also be sliced and steeped in hot water to make ginger tea, which is my favorite evening drink these days.  You may want to add a little lemon juice and honey to temper the flavor, as it can be very intense.  I prefer it straight, though.

Increase your Vitamin C Levels
Another natural antioxidant is Vitamin C.  During the late fall and early winter, mandarins and pomegranates offer an easy and delicious way to add more Vitamin C to your diet.  You may also consider a daily vitamin supplement.  Feel free to contact me for the brands I recommend.

Increase your Glutathione Levels
Glutathione is another natural antioxidant.  It supports the production of cellular energy and can help protect your DNA from oxidative damage (a common side effect of smoke exposure).  Feel free to contact me for the brands I recommend.

While this last tip isn’t going to help detox your body.  Eye drops may provide temporary relief to dry, burning eyes.  I highly recommend Refresh Plus singles.  Luckily, they sell them in boxes of 100 at Costco.  

If you have any health or wellness related questions for me, please respond to this email.  As always, I am open to suggestions on what topics you are interested in me covering in the future.

Stay safe.

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