Wildfires are a big threat to people’s lives all over the world, and now California is hit hard. It’s a very sad situation, as many people have lost their homes and others their lives. The losses are huge, but being alive is for many the greatest blessing. As I’m writing this post, about 80% of the fires are under control, but nothing is never 100% for sure when you are dealing with fire. The firemen are the true heroes of our communities. They are working day and night to save lives and homes. they are in combat against one of the most fierce and uncontrollable storms, the firestorms. A fire storm can attain such an intensity that it creates and sustains its own wind system, which is why it travels so fast and can show up very unexpected.
Now the question is, how can we all protect ourselves, because the smoke released from the fire is not just smoke. In the air we have a mixture of gasses and fine particles from burning trees and other plant material, plus large amounts of particulate matter and carbon monoxide, as well as varying amounts of volatile organic chemicals (such as benzene), polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, metals and other chemicals.
The air quality is the worst I have ever experienced in my 10 years in California. Some days have been extreme in terms of smoke, and other days it’s the particles in the air, that’s bothering eyes, breathing and skin. I can taste the toxins every single day, which means the danger is far from over when it comes to our health. Now the question is, how can we protect ourselves, our kids and pets? The scary truth is that air pollution is the tobacco of the 21st century, and we need to take action now or we will be the passive inhalers of this ongoing threat. I’m listing the things I prioritize doing during and in the aftermath of wildfires.
My top 10 priorities
- Stay inside and close all windows and doors. Window screens with pollutant-trapping nanofibers may be the future answer to air pollution. Scientists from Stanford and Tsinghua University (Beijing) have developed a variety of blow-spun polymers capable of filtering more than 90 percent of the hazardous, lung-penetrating particulate matter that typically passes through standard window screens. So maybe a solution for the near future.
- Run the A/C or some kind of an indoor filter Air Purifier with HEPA to help reduce the polluted air inside the home. Keep the fresh-air intake closed and the filter clean to prevent outdoor smoke from getting inside. Polluted air can be trapped inside your home, so this is important. If you don’t have A/C, go somewhere else like a designated evacuation center, friends, family or even a mall.
- Get yourself a special P100 or N95 respirator mask, which can help protect you against the fine particles in smoke. Paper or surgical masks are not effective in preventing inhalation of smoke. Carbon Face Mask can be useful in many situations.
- Check the local air quality reports several times a day. I use Air now and the EPA app Smoke Sense
- Protect, clear and get rid of mucus and pollutant from your lungs. Yes, that’s what you need to do to rinse out the toxic waste in your body.
- Drink large amounts of water. Make sure the water is purified and re-mineralized. Add Trace Mineral Drops to the water or Himalayan Pink Salt or make spa water (add cucumber. citrus or herbs to purified water), or add Chlorella or Spiraling.
- It’s said that bacteria in the lungs take cues from bacteria in the gut. Add Probiotic & Antioxidants, fermented vegetables and drink beverages like kefir, kombucha and gut shots (brine from fermented vegetables). Avoid sugar, dairy and unfermented soy foods.
- Herbs are very powerful when cleaning up the respiratory system. Try some of my favorites:
- Thyme – It produces a powerful antiseptic essential oil that is antibiotic and anti-fungal. Drink thyme tea to help eliminate bacteria and viruses
- Eucalyptus – The refreshing aroma of eucalyptus helps promote respiratory health, while soothing throat irritation. A compound in eucalyptus called cineole can help ease coughs, fight congestion and soothe irritated sinuses.
- Licorice Root – has the ability to soften the mucous membranes of the throat, lungs and stomach. It soothes while cleansing any inflamed mucous membranes that need immune support. The antibacterial and antiviral effects of licorice root help fight off bacterial strains in the body that can cause lung infections
- Oregano – has vitamins and nutrients that strengthen the immune system. It contains carvacrol and rosmarinic acid which are compounds that are natural decongestants. Oil of oregano has the ability to fight off dangerous bacteria that causes infections.
- Peppermint – Both peppermint and peppermint oil contain menthol, a soothing ingredient known to relax the muscles. The menthol in peppermint has the ability to soothe the respiratory tract to promote better breathing. Peppermint also contains antioxidants that help strengthen the immune system and fight off infections.
- Drink milk – I’m in no way advocating for drinking dairy milk, as it creates a lot of mucus, which usually leads to sinus and respiratory infections. In case of fighting respiratory challenges I do recommend drinking plant-based milks (almond, cashew, hemp and coconut milk) as it soothes the membranes and have an alkaline pH (soy milk is neutral). Dairy milk should only be used in an emergency situation when mucus formation is greatly needed, eg. when the membranes are dried out.
- Medicinal herbs – Last but not least are my favorite medicinal herbs to use for lung support. Each herb can be added in a tea, smoothie or tonic/elixir drink. My top medicinal herbs for lung health are: Astragalus, Cordyceps and Resihi mushroom.
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