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  • Writer's pictureMasae Hori

Staying Healthy During Wildfire Season: 5 Tips and 11 Natural Remedies for Respiratory Health

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As recent wildfires continue to ravage through Canada, millions of people in both the US and Canada are being affected by the resulting smoke. The compromised air quality can pose serious health risks, particularly to our respiratory system. Here are some tips for staying healthy during wildfire seasons and some natural remedies that may help protect and strengthen your respiratory system:

  1. Minimize Outdoor Exposure: When air quality is compromised due to wildfire smoke, limit your time spent outdoors, especially during peak pollution hours. Check local air quality indexes and adhere to any official guidelines or warnings provided by health authorities. If you must venture outdoors, consider using a face mask to protect yourself from fine smoke particles in the air.

  2. Create a Clean Indoor Environment: Ensure that the air inside your home is as clean as possible. Keep windows and doors closed to prevent smoke from entering. Use high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters or air purifiers to help remove smoke particles from indoor air. Avoid activities that can generate indoor air pollution, such as smoking or burning candles.

  3. Stay Hydrated: Drinking plenty of water helps keep your respiratory system moist and can ease irritation caused by smoke particles. Opt for filtered or purified water to avoid additional contaminants.

  4. Support Respiratory Health with Herbs: Certain herbs have been traditionally used to support respiratory health. Here are some herbs that are commonly recommended:

  • Mullein: Known for its soothing properties, mullein is often used to help alleviate respiratory discomfort. It can be consumed as a tea or taken in tincture form.

  • Marshmallow Root: With its mucilaginous properties, marshmallow root can help soothe irritated airways. It is commonly consumed as a tea or taken in capsule or tincture form.

  • Eucalyptus: The essential oil of eucalyptus has a refreshing aroma and may provide temporary relief from congestion when used in a diffuser or inhaled with steam. Always follow proper dilution guidelines and avoid direct skin contact.

  • Licorice Root: Licorice root has expectorant properties and can help soothe irritated airways. It is commonly used in traditional medicine to support respiratory health. However, individuals with high blood pressure or certain medical conditions should consult a healthcare professional before using licorice root.

  • Oregano: Oregano contains compounds with antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties, which may be beneficial for respiratory health. It can be consumed as an herbal tea or added to meals for its flavor and potential health benefits.

  • Thyme: Thyme is known for its antimicrobial properties and can help support respiratory health. It is often used in herbal teas or added to dishes for its aromatic qualities.

5. Consider Natural Dietary Supplements: Certain dietary supplements may offer additional support for respiratory health. Some supplements that may be beneficial include:

  • Vitamin C: Known for its immune-supporting properties, vitamin C may help combat oxidative stress caused by exposure to smoke. It is available in various forms, including tablets, capsules, and powders.

  • N-acetylcysteine (NAC): NAC is an antioxidant that can help protect the respiratory system from damage caused by smoke. It also supports the production of glutathione, an essential antioxidant in the body.

  • Omega-3 Fatty Acids: Found in fish oil and certain plant-based sources like flaxseed or chia seeds, omega-3 fatty acids have anti-inflammatory properties that may benefit respiratory health.

  • Quercetin: Quercetin is a flavonoid with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. It may help reduce airway inflammation and support respiratory health. It is commonly found in fruits and vegetables like apples, berries, onions, and leafy greens. Quercetin supplements are also available.

  • Bromelain: Derived from pineapples, bromelain is an enzyme with anti-inflammatory properties. It may help reduce respiratory inflammation and support lung function. Bromelain supplements are widely available and can be found in combination with Quercetin.

Wildfire smoke can have a significant impact on respiratory health, but by taking proactive steps and incorporating natural remedies into your routine, you can support your well-being during compromised air quality. Remember to consult with a healthcare professional before introducing any herbs or dietary supplements into your regimen to ensure they are appropriate for your specific situation. Stay informed, and prioritize your health!

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