As wildfires in the West blow across our country, this is a reprint of an article I wrote when we were suffering from the Bobcat Fires in our San Gabriel Mountains in Los Angeles where I live. I researched and wrote this in 2020 for my own community but as the smoke made its way then across the states, I realized that this information was for every body.
We still are coping with many fires in the West, so this information is as valuable today as it was one year ago.
I also did a podcast for my show on VoiceAmerica.tv so that anyone dealing with the increased air pollutants could benefit from my research. Please watch that here:
These are tips for everyone.
Reduce Exposure Some simple changes in your environment can lower your exposure to airborne toxins:
- Get the support you need to quit smoking. And try to resist the temptation to take up vaping instead. It may do less immediate harm than smoking, but a recent study found that the chemicals in vaping fluid may damage immune cells in the lungs. If you smoke now would be the time to quit. I had a dickens of a time quitting by the way and did it 3 times before it stuck. I finally decided I was going to be a smoker who choose not to smoke. The shift in mindset did the trick and I have never smoked since.
Nine months after quitting, the lungs have significantly healed themselves. The delicate, hair-like structures inside the lungs known as cilia have recovered from the toll cigarette smoke took on them. These structures help push mucus out of the lungs and help fight infections.
Your lungs do regenerate their cells. The outer wall regenerates new cells in 2-3 weeks and the inner environment replaces cells every year. But smoking does damage beyond the lungs, impacting every organ in your body and leaving nasty things behind like heavy toxic metals etc.
- Use a home air purifier. A basic HEPA filter will improve indoor air quality, .
- Cook with stainless-steel and cast-iron pans. Avoid pans with nonstick coatings: Their polymer surfaces break down and release multiple toxic particulates. (They also break off and put toxic bits into your food) So you are breathing toxic fumes from the pad and you are eating toxic particles. Throw it out.
- Use your stovetop fan. It reduces airborne particulates from cooking. Don’t cook with oils with a low smoke point, like olive oil. Use avocado oil, coconut oil, butter, ghee.
- Avoid synthetic air fresheners at all costs In addition to irritating the lungs, nearly all synthetic fragrances contain phthalates, a known hormone disruptor. Unless you’re sensitive to essential oils, try adding a few drops to water in a stainless-steel spray bottle. Shake it well, then mist with that. I also use defusors in my home which does the trick. Avoid the one that takes smells out of the air too, it is putting toxins in your air as well. Instead of perfume which are now synthetic toxic smells, use essential oils for that too, but cut them down in another oil. I use coconut oil.
- Ditch the dryer sheets. Their chemicals are heated, then vented into the air. Your dryer sheets are one of the most toxic things in your home. I use wool balls and have put a few drops of lavender essential oil on them.
- Simplify your cleaning products. Commercial cleaners (even those marketed as “natural” There is no regulation on the word natural at all so ignore it) are often “significant irritants” to the lungs, Homemade solutions using vinegar, water, and baking soda will handle most household tasks with minimal fumes. Hot soapy water first.
In your kitchen, Hydrogen peroxide. Let sit, wipe off, then white vinegar, let it sit and then wipe it off. This will kill almost every kind of germ on your kitchen counter. The hot soapy water first is a very important first step, so don’t skip it.
Is my cleaner of choice. THe cleaning solution are plant enzymes that are a 1 on the EWG.org toxicity scale. I use it for everything and it does kill germs and viruses.
The items below are on the EPA list for COVID-19. They are the best and safest items listed. Bleach is toxic and regular Lysol is toxic, so take a look at these products from the same companies instead.
The two products below are A on EWG.org and on the EPA list that might meet the EPA criteria for being effective against COVID 19
Hydrogen peroxide Clorox Pet Solutions Advanced Formula Disinfecting Stain & Odor Remover The Clorox Company
Hydrogen peroxide Clorox Commercial Solutions® Clorox® Disinfecting Biostain & Odor Remover Clorox Professional Products Company
4 Other Products that are rated A on EWG.ORG but not on the EPA site:
LYSOL Hydrog Peroxide Multi-Purpose Cleaner, Citrus Sparkle Zest
LYSOL Hydrogen Peroxide Action Multi-Purpose Cleaner, Oxygen Splash
LYSOL Hydrogen Peroxide Multi-Purpose Cleaning Wipes, Oxygen Splash
LYSOL Hydrogen Peroxide Bathroom Cleaner, Cool Spring Breeze
- Cultivate as many plants in your home as possible. Though some research suggests you’d have to maintain a small jungle to produce a measurable difference in air quality, Many environmentalists still recommend growing as many plants as you can to help clean the air. If you have pets, please look up the plants and make sure they would not be harmful to your animal. There are different plants that are harmful to dogs than to cats. I have a complete chapter about this in my book Feeling Good, Living Low Toxin.
- Dust. It’s an odious chore, many airborne chemicals “hitchhike” into the home on dust particles. “Good dust control really helps to diminish exposure,” he says.
- Monitor mold. It can be a significant hidden contributor to harmful indoor-air particulates, so stay on top of wet basements and shower walls.
- Exercise indoors on bad-air-quality days to limit your exposure to airborne particulates.
Consider wearing a mask if your lungs are vulnerable. This is a question I have been asked several times in the last couple of days. This is what I found:
Because N95 masks (without valves) should be reserved for health care workers treating COVID-19, experts do not suggest buying new N95 masks unless you need to be outside for an extended period of time. “These are really good for particles,” he says, and they can help block viruses. They’re especially useful if you have severe allergies or work in a healthcare setting. Surgical masks are more readily available and will provide some protection against wildfire smoke. Cloth masks likely provide little protection against PM2.5 particles, but are still essential for COVID-19 protection.
Using toxic cleaning supplies has been compared to smoking 1 pack of cigarettes a day.
Look up the last ingredient on your cleaning supplies and if it is toxic, put it out of the house in a closed plastic bin and only bring it into your home to clean with until you can replace it with a lower toxin product. Branch Basics
Food quality matters and what you eat becomes the building supplies as your cells replace themselves. This is also true for your lungs. You want to be providing healthy quality building supplies. Eat the rainbow, all those phytonutrients work together to keep your lung cells healthy and happy too. Chart from Dr. Deanna Minich, PHd
Eat Lung-Cleansing Foods
Antioxidant-rich foods counter the production of mucus, fluid, and phlegm in the body, which tend to accumulate in the lungs and airways.An antioxidant is a substance which counteracts oxidation in your cells. Raw fruits and vegetables are typically good sources of antioxidants.
An easy way to understand oxidation is with the example of fruit. When you cut an apple, the fruit pulp turns brown and spoils as oxygen in the air touches it — this is oxidation. The same process happens inside your body and is called oxidative stress. Free radicals, such as “reactive oxygen species,” cause damage to your cells. Consuming antioxidants counters these effects, leading to healthier lungs and a healthier you.
The following are among the best lung-cleansing foods.
Broccoli, bok choy, cauliflower, cabbage, and other cruciferous vegetables are associated with a lower risk of lung cancer.The effect was particularly strong in current and ex-smokers, and with raw vegetables, indicating that when you quit smoking and start eating more of these veggies, you can reverse the damage. That’s pretty incredible.
TIP ON BROCCOLI- when you cut it to prepare it for cooking, let it sit 40 minutes which allows all of its goodness to come out. Then continue with the process of cooking it.
Honey is not only high in antioxidants, it also has antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, and anticancer effects.]It has been used since ancient times to treat and soothe many lung and respiratory conditions, including asthma, tuberculosis, and throat infections. Try a spoonful of raw honey by itself, or add it to an antioxidant tea, like green tea or matcha. We buy local honey at the Pasadena Farmers Market up by the high school and use it to help with hayfever.
Berries & Berry Juice
Berries pack a powerful lung-cleansing punch. Try cherries, blueberries, cranberries, strawberries, goji berries, or acai berries to add lung-supporting antioxidants to your diet. Berry juice can replace an unhealthy snack or accompany a meal. You can also make detox water using berries. I have big 1.2 gallon glass bottles from Amazon that I fill with filtered water and berries and I drink that instead of soda all day long.
TIP ON BLUEBERRIES
If you eat them frozen, there is something about freezing them that brings out the phytonutrients to be utilized better in your body.
Several natural chemical compounds in ginger root have well-documented antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-cancer properties.The anti-inflammatory nature of ginger means it helps break down mucus and improves blood circulation in the body. You can use ginger in cooking, grate it raw on salads, or make ginger tea from mashed ginger root, lemon, and honey. I have a little mini chop, and throw ginger into it to mash it up and make tea or use it in cooking.
Aloe vera, which has antioxidant characteristics, may reduce the damage caused by cigarette smoke on lung tissue. Aloe vera also increases the body’s production of macrophages, a white blood cell involved in immune system response to irritants. You can drink aloe vera juice, or take it as a supplement. Its also amazing to use on burns on your body and will help you heal.
Many herbs have properties that support lung health. Oregano, orange peel, elecampane, eucalyptus, peppermint, lungwort, chaparral, and lobeliacan be used in tea, recipes, or taken as herbal supplements. Rather than growing or buying these herbs separately, you can enjoy them in a single lung cleanse supplement, Allertrex®. This all-natural lung cleansing spray is a blend of organic herbs and essential oils that promote smooth respiratory health, assist with normal lung function, and cleanse your lungs of harmful agents.
N-acetyl cysteine. Also known as NAC
Long used by mainstream medicine to treat cystic fibrosis, this supplement is well studied and safe for long-term use It’s “a detoxifier and an immune-booster rolled into one.” N-acetyl cysteine is a precursor to glutathione, one of the body’s key antioxidants for detoxifying the lungs. A typical dose is about 500 mg twice daily; this can be tripled for anyone with lung-health issues. (Higher doses, though, can sometimes cause headaches and digestive distress.) I use NAC to keep my leaky gut wall healed for my autoimmune disease. It is also great to help with “leaky lung”.
The body uses vitamin A to build and repair lung tissue. Most of us can get enough if we eat plenty of darkly colored produce.
- Eat foods high in vitamin A
o Beef liver.
o Cod liver oil.
o Sweet potato.
o Black-eyed peas.
o Sweet red pepper.
These may be particularly protective against the development of asthma,. I take a Omega 3 supplement every day to keep my heart muscle flexible, and it is also great for the outside of your lungs. You can also get it from eating wild salmon and small oily wild fishes.
It may help improve barrier function in the lungs, “We know that zinc is good for leaky gut, so I think it may be good for leaky lung, as well.”
Take an activated B-Complex,
Vitamin C Liposomal
Double for 2 weeks if you get sick. 3 grams to 6 grams daily. Take C to bowl tolerance. Will protect your lungs. Take Buffered and take with bioflavonoids
The herb Butterbur is excellent for asthma.
Natures natural antihistamine also is good for your lungs, your kidneys and your brain.
Oil of oregano
Carvacrol, a compound in oil of oregano, was shown to be more effective against certain viruses on its own
Avoid These Mucus-Producing Foods
Some foods may cause mucus production in your body, so if you tend to experience chest congestion, or have asthma or COPD (chronic pulmonary disease), It is recommended to avoid these foods:
- Dairy products (milk, cheese, yogurt, ice cream)
- Processed meat
- Fast food
- Chocolate If you eat chocolate make is 70% or higher dark chocolate. Make it soy free(soy is GMO) It does have antioxidant properties)
Limit Your Time Outdoors
Wildfire smoke can affect people living close to the wildfire location and even those living hundreds or thousands of miles away. If the air quality in your area is compromised because of smoke or particle exposure, it’s important to limit your time outdoors with these EPA suggestions:
- Stay inside and shut all windows and doors in order to reduce your exposure to air pollution.
- If your home is in a very smoky area, find a designated clean air shelter. Public buildings with good HVAC systems, like libraries, malls and hospitals, are good options.
- Avoid exercising outdoors until the air quality improves. When we exercise, our air intake increases as much as 10 to 20 times over our normal resting level, so you’ll inhale more pollution when the air quality is low.
Recirculate Clean Indoor Air
When you’re staying inside to protect yourself from smoke and air pollution, be sure to set your air conditioner to re-circulate air. You’ll also want to make sure that your filter is clean and functioning properly.
The CDC also recommends that you avoid creating air pollution while indoors, which means refraining from smoking, using gas, using propane or wood-burning stoves, vacuuming, burning candles and spraying cleaning products. (as noted above)
Use an Air Filter
To clean indoor air, you can use a portable air cleaner that contains a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter.
A two-year study conducted by the Intermountain Medical Center in Salt Lake City suggests that using HEPA filters in your home can significantly reduce fine-particulate matter in the air compared to non-HEPA air filters. In the study, the HEPA filters reduced particulate matter in the home by 55 percent. We have two HEPA filters in our home. One in the living room and one in the bedroom which are the two rooms we spend the most time in. If you have children, consider their bedrooms and the family room if that is where they play.
- Our very recent wildfires in California pose a health threat to thousands of citizens in the U.S. and across the globe. But the consequences of wildfire smoke inhalation stretch way beyond their places of origin.
- Particulate matter pollution travels through the atmosphere for days and weeks after a wildfire.
- Climate change fueled by burning fossil fuels continues to be a proven leading cause of more intense and frequent wildfires.
- U.S. wildfire season is projected to lengthen and the severity of wildfires will increase.
- To protect yourself from wildfire pollution, find a safe place to go inside and opt for HEPA air filters.
Avoid exercising outdoors if air quality advisories are in place for your location.
I hope that this information is helpful to everyone. Stay Safe.
If you have any questions you can email me firstname.lastname@example.org.