How to Protect Yourself From Smoky Air
Living in Colorado, wildfires are common during our dry summers.
The smoke during wildfire season can cause poor air quality and health concerns for vulnerable populations.
The people most vulnerable to smokey conditions include people who have heart or lung diseases, older adults, and children.
Knowing that you want to do the best for your family, here are several suggestion on how to protect yourself, and your health, from smoky air.
To be able to quickly check the air quality where you are, I suggest you install the weather channel app on your phone.
Once it is installed, you can use the app to see the air quality where you live. It tells you exactly what the air quality is where you are. I did a Facebook Live you can watch where I demo this.
When the air quality is poor due to wildfires, follow the basic precautions to reduce potential health risks.
Here’s the best way to start:
- If at all possible, stay indoors. Keep all windows and doors closed.
- Use a HEPA air filter. This best selling model filters out 99.97% of dust, pollen, smoke, odor, mold spores, and pet dander.
- If you have to venture outside the house, set your car’s heat or air to the “air recirculation” setting. Some home A/C units also come with this feature. If your home air conditioner does, be sure to use it.
- When you get home, shower and change into clean clothes.
- Avoid vacuuming. Vacuuming stirs up particles already inside your home, contributing to indoor pollution.
- As soon as conditions clear up, be sure to change out your HVAC air filters. Choose a filter with at least a Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value (MERV) 13rating, or as high a rating as your system fan and filter slot can accommodate. You may need to contact an HVAC company to find the highest rating you can use.
Support Your Stressed Body Naturally
Poor air quality exerts stressors on the body. Here are some great natural ways to support the body during this time.
Do Not Exert Yourself Outdoors
Now is not the time to exercise out of doors. Move any cardio related activities indoors.
Take a Multivitamin
Your body is working overtime to prevent damage from smoke inhalation. Look for a multivitamin that provides the following:
- B vitamins
This is the multivitamin I take. Even though I’m an adult, I still love a good gummy vitamin, and this one provides the vitamins and minerals I’m looking for.
N-Acetyl Cysteine (NAC)
Adding the supplement N-Acetyl Cysteine, or NAC, provides free radical protection. In addition, it helps break up mucus congestion. If you are classified as a vulnerable population (asthmatic, allergies, elderly, heart or lung disease, currently fighting infection) it is important to keep this on hand and to take it throughout the smokey season.
Glutathione is a supplement that can participate both directly and indirectly in the neutralization of free radicals. If this is not a supplement you have readily available in your home, you can also get glutathione support from foods like onions, garlic, kale, cabbage, and broccoli.
Make sure you are getting adequate amounts of the powerful antioxidant Vitamin C. Vitamin C works within the body to help prevent the damage to blood vessels that can occur when you inhale smoke.
The herbs in the following teas work to soothe sore throats and break up congestion. Slippery elm bark, echinacea and eucalyptus are all herbs that can support easier breathing and soothing of breathing passageways.
All of these teas have recommended servings on their packaging. Enjoy these either hot or cold.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS:
What about wearing a mask?
The masks commonly found at hardware stores are designed to trap large particles. These masks will not protect your lungs from the small particles found in wildfire smoke.
When should I consult my doctor?
Any difficulty breathing and you should seek immediate medical attention.
What if I have to evacuate?
Be sure to pack up your Emergency Evacuation Bags prior to wildfire season, so you can leave as quickly as possible.