Tips for combating smoke inhalation from Australian Bushfires

Australian Bushfires

My heart goes out to all those who are suffering from the devastating fires around Australia. Our thoughts and prayers are with everyone affected along with our enormous gratitude to the heroic men and women who are putting their lives on the line to help others. We are in awe of what you do…thank you.

Rather than just sit back and feel helpless, I need to give back, and one of the ways I can give back is to offer my expertise when it comes to trying to offset some of the health issues that these fires are creating.

I went out this morning to find a fine layer of black ‘soot’ on our back veranda. Now compared to what those who are close to the fires are experiencing this is nothing, however my point is that I live on one of the beaches of South Australia – many miles from any bushfire and still this level of pollution is hitting our areas.

I cannot begin to imagine what it’s like for those living so close to all the fires.

The fine invisible particulates and chemicals that are floating around in our air at the moment, which ultimately end up in your lungs, can cause inflammation and decrease your body’s ability to take in oxygen.

It is so important that we try and combat this as the damage it causes can last decades. Smoke contains chemicals that are absorbed into your skin and when you breath in the air it contacts your mucous membranes. These chemicals damage the delicate cells in your lungs that bring oxygen in your body. Without quality oxygen we will die. Oxygen is key to life so when you  breath in smoke it creates a toxic burden on your body.

Now more than ever it is time to think about our bodies and how they are dealing with the increased pollution in the air.

You will have seen government warnings are now being issued regarding air quality. You do not have to be close to fires areas to be affected by this so please take precautions.

Key Tips to Help Assist Your Body:

  • Water Intake – Drink at least 2.5 – 3 litres of water daily away from food. This will help your kidneys flush debris from your system.
  • Garlic – Try and use more of it in your cooking at the moment and make sure your Multi Vitamin contains garlic. Garlic reduces phlegm and acts as an anti-inflammatory.
  • Vitamin C Bioflavonoids – another powerful natural antihistamine. Make sure it is a good quality Vitamin C as there are some poor-quality supplements on the market.
  • Green Tea – is a potent antioxidant and will help reduce airway inflammation. If drinking as a tea, make sure it is an organic brand and if taking it in a supplement make sure it is a quality product that is listed with the TGA or other regulatory body.
  • Vitamin D – make sure you are not low in vitamin D as deficiencies may increase inflammation of the airways and reduce the body’s ability to clear bacteria.
  • Botanical Medicines – These have been used for centuries to help assist in increasing lung capacity and strengthen the lungs. Usually they work very well with any medications however if concerned please talk to your health care practitioner.          Look for formulas containing, Eupatorium perfoliatum (boneset), Armoracia rusticana (horseradish), Verbascum thapsus (mullein) as these will help you breathe easier and will assist the respiratory system by providing symptomatic relief from coughing due to bronchial congestion.
  • Breathing Exercises – Practice breathing exercises outlined here  blog to improve lung function and improving the muscle a person uses to take breaths. Diaphragmatic breathing also helps people with asthma and COPD.

Look After Your Lungs

Even when we are not in a crisis situation with fires, the respiratory system is constantly exposed to many forms of particulate matter such as dust, dirt, pollen and a host of micro-organisms in the air – much of which is capable of irritating or inflaming the mucous membranes along the respiratory tract.

When mucous membranes are irritated, the body’s physiological response is to produce mucous and the resultant discharge is medically known as catarrh.

There are lots of things that can be done to help support your lungs and respiratory system and never underestimate the power of foods to help with lung health.

  • First and foremost, avoid foods that generate mucous so reduce or avoid the following: dairy, bananas, avocados, sugar, white wheat flour and juices.
  • Follow a low reactive diet that includes strengthening foods for the lungs and foods that increase oxygen into the body. Reach out and we will send you information.
  • Try and turn your home into an allergen-free environment. Cover pillows and mattresses with plastic/allergy covers. Use synthetic materials (foam mattresses, acrylics) instead of animal products (wool, horsehair). Minimise dust-collecting household items (i.e. carpets, curtains). Regularly wash soft toys. Use of an air purifier/dust filter may also help (just make sure it is a good quality one).
  • Reduce foods that cause inflammation in your body. Foods such as excess saturated fats (meats and dairy), refined foods, and sugar.
  • Avoid foods with a high content of mould or leftover food, yeasts, pickles, vinegar’s, etc.
  • Eat a minimally processed diet rich in antioxidants, phytonutrients and bioflavonoids. Ask for our LifeStyle Guide as this will give you more information about foods to consume.

#Please Note – if you suffer from any form of asthma or lung condition, the above advice should be used as an adjunct to your Health Care Practitioner’s (HCP) treatment. Please ask for any fact sheets relating to any product which you can take to your HCP for approval. If concerned about anything at anytime please seek medical attention.