The Oregon wildfires have left us, and our community asking for guidance regarding this public safety issue. As we grieve the damage and loss of our precious land, we may also personally begin to feel its physical and emotional impact.
Wildfire smoke is an irritant to the respiratory system and inhaling this mix of particulate and gases for prolonged periods of time can damage the mucosa and cause bronchial spasms. This can be harmful for everyone, but is of most concern for individuals with preexisting conditions such as asthma, COPD, emphysema, heart disease, or any underlying respiratory conditions.
The most common symptoms we are seeing with exposure to smoke include:
- Scratchy throat
- Chest pain
- Rapid heartbeat
- Shortness of breath
Here are our best tips from our clinic team!
- Stay inside as much as possible. As Oregonians who love the outdoors, it is difficult to keep us inside. Rare circumstance, and totally worth avoiding the particulate in the air.
- Stay hydrated! Drink plenty of water to support the bodies natural detoxification system.
- Don’t increase the toxicity of the air. This is not a time for burning anything in your house, no candles, no fires, no cooking food on high temperatures that smoke the house. Avoid cleaning chemicals, sprays, perfumes.
- Air conditioners and HEPA filters will filter the air, this will reduce particulates in our homes. A swamp cooler with no filter will only bring in more particulate. Please avoid this.
- Avoid unnecessary exertion, such as running, hiking, biking, or whatever renders heavy breathing.
- If you or someone in your family has a respiratory weakness, you are pregnant, chronically ill or strongly sensitive to toxins. Head for the beach!
- Listen to your individual body. Put your health first.
Natural Medicinals To Heal and Protect the Lungs
- Vitamin C is arguably the most important water soluble antioxidant found in the respiratory system.
- Vitamin B6 is another nutrient that is beneficial for those dealing with lung health issues. The body requires vitamin B6 for normal functioning of more than 60 different enzymes, some of which are directly involved in the respiratory system.
- Magnesium promotes relaxation. Because the muscles of the respiratory system impact how the lungs expand, therefore, the capacity to trap air, it is important to provide these muscles with adequate amounts of magnesium.
Herbal Medicine & Support:
- Slippery Elm- this mucilaginous bark moistens the mucosa of the lungs which reduces irritation and allows particulates to productively clear out.
- White Mulbery or Sang Ye in Chinese Medicine- cooling, relaxing, clears heat from the lung,
- Astragalus- this adaptogen has an affinity to the lungs and supports the mucosa of the lungs. It my favorite plant ally, for it boosts energy, is supportive to the adrenals. I take this from October-February as it is such a support to the respiratory system.
- Throat & Lung tea (Formula #4) – Mullien, Elberberry and Peppermint calm respiratory tract distress, Ginseng, Unsea and Oregano encourage normal immune system function.
- SISTR EIR Essential Oil- this effective blend immediately open nasal passages and relieves headaches – quick natural relief to carry with you.
- For now, be gentle to yourselves and limit your exposure outside. Our clinic team of naturopathic doctors, acupuncturists, and chiropractors, are here to support you with any herbal supplements, vitamin B shots or even our Throat & Lung tea. And, for your convenience, we’re just a call away.
When the smoke clears we will send out a detox protocol specific for the lungs which will help repair and heal tissues in the respiratory track.