Dr. Lawren Chan N.D. Integrative Naturopathic Medical Centre Naturopath YVR
3 min|Dr. Lawren Chan

Wildfire Smoke Takes Over Metro Vancouver: 7 Helpful Tips To Keep You Going

Wellness, Mind Health, Health, Heart Health

Smoky Skies Causing Irritations

With hundreds of active wildfires currently burning in British Columbia, the entire province is suffering. Thousands of homes are being threatened and evacuation orders have been issued in many areas. With persistent smoky skies lingering, it is no surprise that there is an air quality advisory for Metro Vancouver indicating high concentrations of fine particulate matter in the air.

On Tuesday, August 14, 2018 - BC was found to have the worst air quality in North America, and according to Environment Canada's Air Quality Health index most of Metro Vancouver is currently at the highest risk level (10+/10).

For the general public, the wildfire smoke can cause irritation resulting in: shortness of breath, coughing, wheezing, sore throat, dry eyes/skin, chest discomfort, nasal/sinus congestion, and headaches. Young children, elderly, those with chronic lung conditions, persons with heart disease, and pregnant women are especially being cautioned to limit exposure to the current state of air pollution.

If you are experiencing symptoms as a result of the wildfire smoke, make sure to seek appropriate medical attention from a naturopathic or medical health care provider.

7 general tips to help keep you going while the air quality advisory continues:

1. Avoid/postpone strenuous outdoor activity until the air clears

2. Purify your air

HEPA filters or electrostatic precipitators work well in indoor spaces.

3. Wear a mask

N95 or N100 respirator masks will decrease the amount of inhaled fine particulate matter, but paper surgical masks will have no benefit.

4. Steam inhalations and neti-pots

Cleanse and keep the sinuses and upper respiratory tract open and functioning effectively with steam inhalations of eucalyptus or neti-pot rinses.

5. Botanical medicine to support the respiratory system

Herbs specific to the lungs and bronchials which are anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic, antitussive, antimicrobial and expectorant such as: Breathe Easy Lung Tea and Soothe Dry Cough by Inspirit (made by our very own Dr. Katie Leah), Broncha by Biomed, Resp-fx by Alpha Science Laboratories.

6. Histamine modulation

Irritation from the smoke is commonly an allergic histamine reaction to increased inhalation of foreign particulate matter. Quercetin is a potent antioxidant which inhibits histamine release and decreases inflammation, consider Quercetin by Vital Nutrients, EMIQ by Bioclinic Naturals or try an over-the-counter antihistamine.

7. NAC (N-Acetyl-L-Cysteine) & GSH (glutathione)

Cysteine is the most important precursor to glutathione (GSH), the body’s main antioxidant, which helps to support respiratory function, clear excess mucus, detoxify, and modulate the immune system. Nebulized glutathione is an aerosolized form that is administered through a mask for direct inhalation and activity on the tissues of the respiratory system.

The supplements listed above can be found in our Integrative Naturopathic Dispensary. This blog provides general information and discussion regarding naturopathic medicine and health related topics. The content above and any linked materials are not intended and should not replace seeking medical attention by a trained healthcare professional.

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