My home state, California, is currently experiencing multiple wildfires. Additionally, at this time, there are wildfires burning in other states and even other countries. Regardless of how far you are from the actual fires, there is a possibility that some of the smoke may reach you. And you may not even see or smell smoke, but the particulate matter that is carried by the smoke can pose a health hazard. You may feel it in your eyes, sinuses or lungs.
I have had a few people inquire on how to deal with some of the annoying issues the smoky air is causing. I figured I would put together a list of suggestions in the hopes that it may provide relief to anyone that is affected by the smoke. Please keep in mind that this is not meant to replace medications or advice from a qualified healthcare provider. Also, please seek medical advice for any worsening symptoms or if you are undergoing treatment for a health condition.
- Stay indoors, close windows and use fans. An air-purifier is also helpful. A face mask is not recommended unless it’s a mask with a particulate respirator.
- Himalayan salt lamps attract pollutants and assist in clearing the air. However, I wouldn’t recommend relying on just this fully. Perhaps better combined with other methods.
- A neti pot can provide much relief to irritated sinuses. Nasal sprays can help some as well.
- Himalayan salt pipe inhalers may help with inflammation and improve respiratory function.
- Increase water intake to prevent dehydration and to encourage detoxification. Water is crucial to maintaining physical and mental balance. Check out my shopping page for the water filtration device I use and recommend.
- Smoke exposure causes oxidative damage. Increase intake of Vitamin C, an antioxidant, through foods and supplements. This is the Vitamin C supplement I recommend.
- Glutathione, also an antioxidant, encourages our body to heal and detox after smoke exposure. And it also works in synergy with Vitamin C.
- An herbal steam with thyme (Thymus vulgaris) is very soothing for sinuses and lungs. To make a steam, add a few sprigs of fresh thyme to a pot of hot water. Cover your head with a towel and breathe the steam for a few minutes. Dried thyme can be used as well. Make sure that the water is not too hot as to cause burns.
- Tinctures that help to soothe the lungs include nettle (Urtica dioica), mullein leaf (Verbascum thapsus), and marshmallow (Althaea officinalis). If possible look for tinctures made with glycerin, called glycerites, as tinctures made with alcohol can be more drying. These plants can also be taken as an infusion.
- Herbal teas that are soothing due to the presence of mucilage include marshmallow root and/or leaf (Althea officinalis), slippery elm (Ulmus rubra), plantain (Plantago major or lanceolata), and hollyhock (Alcea rosea). Ginger root tea is also anti-oxidative and anti-inflammatory. Honey, added to tea or on its own, also helps to soothe irritated lungs.
- Two herbal respiratory support combinations that I have had success with include Lung Tonic and Calm Breathing.
- For irritated eyes, try an eyewash or an herbal compress. Eyebright (Euphrasia officinalis) and chamomile (Chamaemelum nobile or Matricaria recutita) are both excellent herbs for eye care. If making an eyewash, be sure to strain out all plant matter. There are also pre-made eyewash combinations available such as this one. For a compress, use a cotton muslin bag filled with the herbs or a wet tea bag. Chamomile or black tea are both excellent choices for a compress.
Hopefully, some of these methods provide you and your loved ones some relief until the skies clear up. In an effort to stay on topic and from becoming too lengthy, the supplements and herbs mentioned are just an overview of their benefits and uses. Many other herbs and supplements can offer similar benefits. Also, before adding anything new to your current regimen, keep in mind any possible interactions between herbs, supplements, and medications. Feel free to contact me if you would like to discuss any of this more in-depth. The majority of the above mentioned are also beneficial in easing the symptoms of viruses and allergies.
This too shall pass, and clear skies will return, but for now, please maintain your thoughts and prayers with everyone that is affected by these fires- the firefighters that give so much, their families that wait at home, and the people and animals that reside in the fire zones.
This blog is for informational purposes only and is educational in nature. Statements made here have not been evaluated by the FDA. This blog is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Please discuss with your own, qualified health care provider before making any dietary or lifestyle changes.
Read more here about wildfire smoke.
More information about salt therapy.