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  • Arcadia Farber, MTOM, L.Ac

Remedies for Poor Air Quality, Smoke Inhalation and Lung Health (updated 10.12. 2017)

As smoke drifts and settles over Marin from the devastating fires to our north, local air quality has significantly deteriorated and many of us are feeling its effects. Dry, irritated eyes and nasal passages, increased allergy symptoms, shortness of breath, and headaches are have significantly increased for many Marin residents in the last few days.

This morning I heard someone say, "if you can see the air you breathe, its bad for you."

***The smoke from these particular fires differ from wildfires that burn predominately plant material. The smoke and ash in this circumstance contain particulate from burning plastics, metals and chemically treated materials. The particles in the air can contain materials like arsenic, cadmium and lead. Breathing in these particles drives them straight into our circulatory system.***

While those with compromised or more fragile immune systems such as patients who suffer from Asthma, the elderly, pregnant women, and young children, are the most at risk from such poor air quality, many of us who don't fall into these categories are feeling the effects of the smoke and ash in the air.

Symptoms of smoke inhalation and poor air quality can range from mild to severe, and while we may not be aware of it, these conditions can decrease our immunity and increase our susceptability to colds, allergies and bronchitis, especially as enter cold and flu season.

**Supporting healthy detoxification is crucial during this time to rid the body of the harmful substances in the air.***

People with compromised or slower detoxification capacities will be feeling the effects of poor air quality: shortness of breath, wheezing, chest discomfort, malaise, dizziness, nausea.

I hope the fires will be under control soon, and that everyone is safe. In the meantime, here are some tips to help you stay healthy:

I can't say enough right now about boosting anything that will help detoxification. Nutrient rich foods, greens and green drinks, superfood smoothies, cilantro, arugula, radishes, dandelion greens, Cruciferous Veggies (broccoli, brussel sprouts, cauliflower), and supplements that contain powerful Detox nutrients like DIM, Green Tea extract, Calcium D Glucarate, Alpha- Lipoic Acid, and Milk Thistle are super important while the air is so congested.

Cupping Therapy. Cupping is excellent to help relieve shortness of breath, asthma, coughing, and tight muscles surrounding the lungs and the back. I highly recommend Cupping as a treatment modality for smoke and smog inhalation as it also detoxifies and drives more oxygen into the lungs.

If you are experiencing any allergy symptoms like dry and irritated sinuses, or are wanting to boost your immune system, Acupuncture can help. Acupuncture Treatment can boost your immunity, open and clear the sinuses, soothe dry and irritated eyes, and help with coughs and shortness of breath.

Herbal options for Kids. Treating symptoms and protecting immunity is important for preserving your child's health. These are some options I use in my practice for optimizing Lung health in circumstances such as smoke inhalation and exposure to poor air quality. ProbioMax ENT is a sweet and fruity tasting chewable probiotic specific for Ear, Nose and throat heath. Gentle warriors pediatric herbs like "Chest Relief" are based on traditional Chinese herbal formulations for treating cough, shortness of breath and asthma in children. This particular product is wildcrafted in the USA, glycerin rather than alcohol based and produced in the Santa Cruz Mountains.

I use a variety of supplements in my practice to ease symptoms and boost immunity for adults. Magnolia Clear Sinus and Clear Air work to ease symptoms in the sinus and lungs. Cordyceps is a powerful herb for boosting lung function and increasing energy, oxygenation and immune function. Essential oils like Breathe Great can help open the sinus and lungs. XenoProtX, Milk Thistle, and Ecliptex are additional formulas I use in my practice for detoxification. These supplements can be ordered and drop- shipped directly to patients, or swing by the office to pick some up.

Vitamin C. My patients know I am a huge fan of vitamin C for immunity and inflammation, and like to call it "the great vacuum cleaner of the body." I highly recommend an increase in Vitamin C for both children (I recommend 250mg) and adults (500mg). Vitamin C can get into the cells of the body and help clear out toxins, in this case, the byproducts of the smoke and ash we are breathing.

Saline or Xylitol nasal spray - 2-4 times a day. Sinus rinses and nasal sprays help moisturize dry and irritated tissues and bind to particles to flush them out. Not only helping to ease symptoms of dryness and irritation, this can be helpful for both children and adults to protect these delicate tissues that function as our first line of defense against bacteria and viruses that cause colds and the flu.

Reduce your exposure by staying indoors and limiting physical activity until the smoke in the air clears.

As always, feel free to reach out or give me a call with any questions, or to book your next session.


Be well and stay safe,


For more info on the toxicity in the air- check out the link below:

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