People suffering watery eyes, coughing, and other symptoms triggered by wildfire smoke often feel immediate support after taking Chinese herbs that promote nasal, sinus and respiratory health.
The number of acres burned annually by wildfires in the United States has been steadily increasing over the past several decades, from just over 2 million acres burned in 1986 to 9 million acres burned in 2012.
A wildfire endangers not only the lives and property of those in its path, but it can also have a devastating effect on the health of individuals living in the general vicinity of the fire - even those living hundreds of miles away.
To help those affected deal with wildfire smoke, Simar Singh (Founder & CEO of Rootologyhealth.com) is here to share advice from experts at the American Lung Association and the California Department of Health.
- To determine whether the level of smoke in your vicinity is dangerous, observe how your body is reacting. If you can smell smoke, you’re probably being affected. Experiencing irritated eyes, throat or lungs, as well as breathing difficulty, chest discomfort or a persistent cough when smoke is present are all warnings to take protective measures or seek medical care.
- The best way to avoid the health hazards triggered by wildfires is to leave the area. Consider going to a clean-air shelter set up by local health authorities if one is available. Some evacuation centers have separate interior rooms away from doors or windows to serve people with breathing problems. Temporary relief can be found in places like malls, theaters and public buildings with good air conditioning systems.
- Taking shelter at home: If your home is tightly built and air conditioned, even sensitive people should be able to avoid the worst effects. A high-efficiency filter on a whole-house air system is a good investment. Homes without whole-house AC may still be safe if you can seal up a room, keep it air conditioned and use a good HEPA air filter. Make sure you have medicine and supplies to stay indoors at least five days.
- Limit exertion in the home and trips outside to short jaunts in an air-conditioned car, with vents closed, and the AC in “recirculate” mode.
- Exercise should be limited whenever air is at unhealthy levels; schools should cancel sporting events and other outdoor activities.
- Disposable particulate respirators rated N95 or P100 by the U.S. National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health offer good protection from small particles in smoke. (but not toxic fumes). The masks, sold in many hardware stores, must fit tightly and be replaced regularly. Paper “dust” masks or surgical masks offer no protection from smoke. Those with existing breathing difficulties should not wear respirators.
- If outdoor trips in smoky areas are necessary, breathe through a damp cloth to help filter out particles in the air.
- Stay hydrated.