Jamie Sculley, ND
7 Tips for Staying Healthy in the Smoky Air
I read today that Seattle, WA has the unhealthiest air quality in the world. I live in Washington state and those of us on the West Coast have been dealing with wildfires and the resulting heavy clouds of smoke. Thankfully, it’s expected to improve soon, but I wanted to go over some quick tips for reducing exposure and staying healthy for those of you also dealing with this.
Reduce Your Exposure
I think the most important thing to do is to reduce your exposure to the outside air as much as possible. Keep doors and windows closed, use “recirculate” if you use an A/C and limit the time spent outdoors. Wear a mask (N95) if you go outside and avoid strenuous activity or really any activity at all. If you usually workout outdoors, bring your workouts inside for now.
Breathe Through Your Nose
Breathe through your nose rather than your mouth. Our nasal passages are set up with hair, immune cells and mucus that filters and moisturizes the air we breathe. This air also goes to our lungs rather than our digestive system, which are better equipped to deal with it. Along the same lines, don’t eat or drink outside to prevent particulates from getting into your body through your mouth and digestive system.
Use an Air Filter
To keep indoor air clean, use a HEPA filter or check out the WA State Department of Ecology's Youtube video for how to make an inexpensive air filter using a box fan and furnace filter. Check it out here.
Rinse Out Your Sinuses
Rinse out your sinuses with a neti pot after being outside. You can use clean, warm water with 1/2 tsp salt or store bought saline rinses. Doing this in the shower may be easiest and less messy. You may also want to shower, wash your hair or rinse off after being outside and before going to bed.
Particulates in the air can get deep into our lungs and can cause oxidative damage to our cells and DNA so protecting them with antioxidants is important. Antioxidants from fruits, vegetables, herbs and a healthy diet becomes really important during this time. Supplemental antioxidants like NAC (N-acetyl-cysteine), alpha lipoic acid, and vitamins C and E may also be helpful.
You may also want to support your own body’s powerful antioxidant system by providing the necessary precursors for a compound called glutathione. Naturally occurring glutathione can be found in spinach, asparagus, avocado, tomato, cucumber, and almonds. This system also needs sulfur, which you can get from dietary sources like garlic, onions, leeks, and cruciferous veggies (broccoli, cauliflower, kale, chard, Brussel’s sprouts).
Sweat and Support Your Lymphatics
One way we detox is through our skin and sweat. You can support this through sweating with sauna and exercise (indoors!). Your lymph system will be working hard right now to clean up all the inhaled toxins so help it out by moving your body, taking hot/cold showers, doing contrast hydrotherapy and dry skin brushing. We also detox through our kidneys and colon so promote this by staying hydrated and promoting healthy elimination through fiber, probiotics and bowel massage.
Sleep and Manage Your Stress
I know this year has been hard and it can feel overwhelming to deal with another thing this year, but try your best to get good sleep. Restful sleep helps your immunity, keeps glutathione levels up, reduces oxidation, improves your mood and is a great way to manage stress. Do things that make you feel good, but for now, do them indoors. Soon the smoke will go away and we can get outdoors again.
I hope this helped you! Stay safe everyone!
Washington state and the West Coast has been dealing with wildfires and smoke recently. I go over some tips for reducing your exposure and staying healthy during this time. Tips include reducing exposure by staying indoors, wearing a mask, using an air filter, and breathing through your nose; using a neti pot to rinse your sinuses; showering off at the end of the day; getting antioxidants in your diet or supplements; sweating and supporting your lymphatics; supporting elimination through the kidneys and colon; and getting good sleep and managing stress to reduce oxidative stress.
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