With the recent dry conditions and wildfires we’ve experienced in California, whole communities are at a higher risk of wildfire smoke exposure. And, while there isn’t much we can do to prevent the fire from heading our direction, there are precautions that we can take to protect ourselves and our families from wildfire smoke. It’s extra important to protect those with heart or lung diseases, children and pregnant women as they have a higher risk to develop strong health reactions. Here’s how you can keep you and your family safe.
Check Air Quality Reports
Look at local air quality reports at www.airnow.gov for up-to-date information. This will give you information about the quality of air in your area and how healthy the conditions are. There are varying levels of contamination in areas close to wildfires. It is helpful to know just how contaminated your air is; however, it is important to remember that any level of contamination is cause for protective measures.
Reschedule Outdoor Exposure
Even if the air outside looks like it is clear and easy to breathe, it may still be full of harmful, microscopic chemicals that are invisible to the naked eye. Even wearing a dust mask will not protect you from smoke inhalation, because they can only filter out large particles. Anything that you would usually do outside should be adjusted to be done indoors if it is possible.
Avoid Activities that Increase Indoor Pollution
Even just running your vacuum cleaner can spread small particles around your house and you want your home to be free of as many contaminants as possible. Avoid using wood-burning stoves or fireplaces, gas stoves, and burning candles. You should also avoid smoking if you can. It is safe to use your air conditioner, but make sure the filter is clean, and the fresh air intake is closed. It is also recommended to remove and wash clothing immediately if you have been outside.
Follow Your Doctor’s Advice if You have a Medical Condition
If you have asthma or another lung condition, make sure you are following the guidelines set by your doctor and that you are taking your medication. Use preventative treatments if you need to if your doctor is okay with it. You should also make an evacuation plan, just in case you begin having difficulties breathing. Call your doctor if you have any questions or concerns.
Detox Your Body If You’ve Been Exposed
Drink A Lot Of Water
Most people, unfortunately, are dehydrated. This poses a serious issue when the body has been exposed to smoke. Wildfire smoke contains tiny little particles that get caught in your lungs. These particles then travel to your bloodstream and wreak havoc on your organs. Drinking lots of water will help flush these toxins out of your body.
Drink Hot Liquids
Your cell tissue is covered with cilium, which moves together to create a current that rids the body of toxins. When exposed to smoke, the cilium is no longer capable of moving properly. Consuming hot liquids can help get your cilium moving again. Try eating more soup or drinking hot teas. This will help your cilium to push out mucous and saliva, which is ridden with toxins.
Use Saline Nasal Spray
Smoke exposure irritates the insides of the sinuses, which can lead to shortness of breath. Keep your sinuses lubricated by using a saline nasal spray. Not only will this provide relief, but it will also promote expulsion of toxins.
Get More Vitamin C
Vitamin C, a natural antioxidant, will help detoxify your body and give you a natural boost. Foods like pomegranates, kiwi, and broccoli contain lots of vitamin C. And, while you can take vitamin c supplements, they won’t detox your body the way that getting the vitamin through food will. If eating fruits and vegetables aren’t your thing, you can always drink orange juice.
Drink A Lot Of Milk
Drinking milk will help to lubricate the throat by thickening mucus. It is believed that it is the fats found in milk that help thicken mucus. This will create a protective barrier between the sensitive tissues of your throat and the harmful smoke.
Eat More Ginger
Ginger contains chemical compounds that boost lung function and blood circulation. Ginger can be added to many of the foods that you consume regularly. You can add ginger to teas and salad dressings. Most Asian cuisine also features the wonderful detoxifier.
We hope you stay safe!