Not only are wildfires scary to encounter or endure, but the smoke they create can have serious effects on our health, read on for 5 Natural Tips for Fighting Wildfire Smoke Inhalation.
Wildfire smoke causes an inflammatory immune response in our bodies, this response can cause many symptoms including a sore throat, headache, watery eyes, or even more complicated concerns for people with pre-existing health issues like asthma, heart, and lung conditions (to name a few). Even for relatively healthy people, extended exposure to wildfire smoke can affect your energy, mood and overall well being.
Having lived through several smoke-filled summers in the Kootenay’s, I acquired a few tips for fighting the effects of wildfire smoke inhalation. Please note that I am not a healthcare practitioner and these tips are just that, tips from my own life experience. The products and suggestions listed below are some of things I have found helpful and I am sharing them in the hopes that they might help you too. I have not received compensation from any of the companies mentioned in this post.
1. Sore Throat
My worst and most persistent symptom of wildfire smoke inhalation is a sore throat. I’m the kind person who gets a sore throat from merely walking by someone who’s smoking a cigarette, so weeks of smoke-filled air really takes a toll.
One of the best solutions I’ve found is a bee propolis spray. Bee Propolis has anti-inflammatory properties that help to soothe sore throats and fight the inflammatory response brought on by smoke. It’s antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal which helps strengthen your immune system and ward off coughs, colds and other bugs that you might come across when smoke has your immune systems battery runny low.
You can find bee propolis spray at your local health food store or online. My favourite brand is Beekeepers Naturals – Propolis Spray.
2. Burning Chest
I also find that bee propolis helps with the burning sensation I often have in my chest due to wildfire smoke inhalation. This feeling is similar to acid reflux (without the liquid/acid), and if any of you have ever had reflux, you know how uncomfortable it can be. Another trick that I find helps this unsettling symptom is to drink LOTS of water.
3. Stuffy Nose & Allergies
If you have allergies there’s a good chance that wildfire smoke is going to cause them to act up. I find that using a sinus and allergy specific tincture works wonders to alleviate congested nasal passages. Of course, staying indoors and out of the smoke altogether is your best bet, but sometimes we need a little extra help. I like to use St. Francis – Sinafect as their ingredients are super pure and their products are always tested for strength consistency. Your local herbal apothecary or naturopath might also be able to make a custom blend for you if you prefer to go that route.
If a tincture isn’t your style or you need additional nasal support try using a nasal rinse/saline solution to really clear out all that congestion — that’s right, it’s neti pot time!
3. Watery and/or Burning Eyes
Time to get out! Get out of the smoke, go indoors, and find cleaner smoke-free air. To fight wildfire smoke inhalation, try using a natural eye-wash rinse to clear your eyes, and invest in a HEPA-filter to clean the air inside your home or workspace. If these options don’t work for you then leaving your home for a community with clearer skies might be the best option.
4. Low Energy
Prolonged smoke exposure causes our bodies to be in a constant state of inflammation, which means that our immune systems never gets a break. Try to increase your intake of anti-inflammatory and immune-boosting foods like berries, oranges, cherries, dark leafy greens, ginger tea, echinacea tea, and turmeric. If you have trouble including these foods in your diet, a high-quality supplement can also do the trick.
5. Low Mood
Summer wildfires are kind of a catch-22. Usually, there’s a lack of rain and hot temps that contribute to the fires starting (and continuing to burn), but at the same time, the cheerful summer sun is blocked out by smokey skies. This lack of direct sunlight can really affect our mood, as can being stuck indoors for an extended period of time. To combat the smokey sky blues, be sure to take your daily Vitamin D supplement and get some exercise — even if it’s just inside your house. Get your yoga mat out or find some HIIT videos on YouTube, and get those endorphins pumping!
I hope you find these 5 tips for fighting wildfire smoke inhalation helpful. My heart goes out to anyone currently evacuated from their home, or worse have lost their home or a loved one due to wildfires. Stay safe!
NOTE: If you are experiencing symptoms of smoke inhalation please talk to your health care provider to learn what methods and remedies might work best for you.
Don’t forget about your PETS! Pets are just as susceptible to smoke inhalation as we are. Be sure to keep your kitties in-doors, and if need be, take your pups on a car ride to a spot that’s less smoky for their daily walk/hike.