8 Things To Do To Protect Yourself From The Harmful Bush Fire Smoke

Heading image sourced via The Australian.com

If you’re in Australia or you’ve been following the news, you’ll know of the catastrophic bush fires that have wiped out over two million hectares of flora and fauna (and counting!). We’ve been feeling pretty suffocated by the smoke here at Low Tox HQ in Sydney, which has us thinking around the clock about the people doing far worse than us here in Sydney out there in the face of the fires. Our team has foregone Kris Kingle and donated to bushfire related causes, and I’ve donated what I would have gifted my team also, totalling $350 all up. Imagine if every small business and family did the same, who were able to, in this time of crisis? Anything spare, they really need us out there right now and if you’re an affected community, please do share in the comments if you know of any other funds needed from registered not for profits/volunteer services.

NSW Rural Fire Service

RSPCA

WWF Adopt a Koala

and let’s not forget the drought that continues to devastate – Drought Angels could use our support too!

For those who are affected by smoke inhalation, there’s going to be a varying degree to which you can get your hands on support tools, but Steph, our low tox naturopath and I thought it’d be good to quickly pull together this blog post after yet another day (and probably the most extreme so far) of severe bushfire smoke. Before we share some tips, it has to be said once again that I recognise that we’re so incredibly fortunate to have brave firefighters risking their lives for communities out there as we go about our days trying to simply battle the smoke. I also realise that it’s incredibly privileged to be able to ‘worry about some smoke inhalation’ when people are worried about whether they’re waking up with a home or not. This is a dire situation our country is in right now and I just want to send massive hugs out to the entire low tox community – those affected in the literal sense, and in the mental-health sense just witnessing what’s happening.

 

1.Dose Up Vitamin C

Adults can take up to 1000mg in divided doses over the day for immune system regulation and anti-inflammatory benefits. A buffered vitamin C will be easier on the digestive system. Mix it up with a half teaspoon of NAC (below) and a dash of Manuka honey, as I did for my team and I and sip gradually. Be sure not to do so on am empty tummy as it could make you feel queasy.  You can continue to do this after the smoke clears as well for general detoxification support for a couple of weeks.

2. Take Liposomal Glutathione, or for those with sensitive constitutions, the precursor to glutathione, NAC (N-acetylcysteine)

Glutathione is a natural antioxidant. Not only does it supports the production of cellular energy, but it can help protect your DNA from oxidative damage (a common occurrence resulting from the body being placed under stress or processing excessive toxins). If you are fairly sensitive to anything liver-related, or supplements in general, you might like to try NAC (N-acetylcysteine), , which is the precursor to glutathione in the body and a natural antioxidant. 1000mg in water with some honey and vitamin c will do the trick. Be warned, NAC has a very bitter, astringent taste! This one below by HealthWise is one I use and is readily available from health food stores, and online.

3. Detox with activated charcoal before bed

Start with 2g of charcoal and if required you can increase to 3g – always take it away from other foods and supplements as it’s a ‘binder’ that can also bind to nutrients, so right before bed and away from dinner is a great time to take it. Activated charcoal is pure carbon comprised of millions of tiny micropores which have a large surface area. Just one gram of activated carbon has a surface area in excess of 3,000 m2. This high degree of microporosity makes it extremely effective in binding to vast amounts of organic material. Used for its adsorbing (bonding) properties, activated charcoal can attract impurities like a magnet to remove them safely from the body. The highest quality brand I’ve come across is the BulletProof Activated Charcoal which is available through OptimOz

4. Drink plenty of filtered water throughout the day and first thing in the morning

Ensuring you’re staying hydrated is crucial to enhancing your body’s natural detoxification processed. Given many people are sleeping through the night with the smoke seeping into their homes, be sure to have a good 1-2 glasses of filtered water first thing to flush anything through from overnight and drink throughout the day. Water will also reduce the incidence of headaches or migraines from smoke inhalation.

5. Stay inside and if you must go outside, wear a mask with an excellent filter.

Yes, it’s THAT serious. Researchers do not know how medium-term exposure to the level of smoke in the air in Sydney and around NSW will impact health long term. There is such limited research that analyses the effects on human health when a city is blanketed in smoke for weeks at a time, but given some experts are estimating parts of Sydney’s smoke exposure is the equivalent to smoking 30 cigarettes, despite of course the two types of smoke being different, it’s safe to say that this is far from ideal in the very least. They do know at the least it causes inflammation in the body, specifically in the respiratory tract. “We do know that current evidence indicates there is no safe lower threshold of exposure to [particulate matter] pollution.” – ABC article. I purchased a 3M HEPA filter mask when I was moving out of a mouldy home. More on how I went through that here. It’s top-notch and filters out everything – I’ve been known to sleep with it in the odd situation where I couldn’t avoid hotel room mold and it really saved me! If you’re after an easy-to-find mask, Bunnings has a good range like this one here, or this one here (ok but not as protective as the two previously mentioned).  Take note of the image below taken in my kitchen before I zipped out to pick my son up from school. Normally beyond my windows, you can see blue water from Sydney harbour and leafy green trees… alas, not today. There’s some mask advice from a health professor in this article too. If Bunnings sells out, try Amazon.

6. Using a Saline Nasal Spray

It’s easy for smoke exposure to cause irritated sinuses and a congested chest, irritation, and shortness of breath. A natural saline nasal spray can help you moisten and soothe the mucosa surrounding your nose and airways all while expelling foreign particles. For kids, the De-Stuff by KiwiHerb is good for compliance and comes buffered with immune-supportive herbs as well or you could just grab a saline nasal spray from your local pharmacy.

7. Purify your indoor air

While I acknowledge it is an incredible luxury to be able to fork out for a high-quality air purifier if you or someone in your family struggles with breathing difficulties, asthma or you’re living with the elderly it is worth seeing if you can stretch the budget to get one. I use the Inovaair air purifer and we’ve seen a huge difference in air quality since using it. Having mold susceptibility I didn’t muck around and got the “DE20 Plus”  Other options include the AusClimate Air Purifer and for a good quality easy-to-find option, Harvey Normal sells the Philips series 500 2 in 1 air purifier and dehumidifier in one (although best for single rooms rather than big open plan spaces that one).

8. Try a lung care spray

This one by Kiwi Herb was recommended to me by my health food store and it helps for those moments when you’re feeling congested or like you have a chesty cough.

 

And a final word – Don’t muck around if you feel like you’re severely affected. Call 000 or visit your local doctor to be assessed. Some people with respiratory conditions are at risk big time while the smoke is this bad, so take care of yourselves and your family. Be safe those of you near the fires.

Thinking of everyone affected.

Low Tox Love

Alexx x

Oh p.s – Here is also a great video that Naomi Judge, naturopath shared on Facebook last week with some detox support tips in there too.

 

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