Here in Sydney, and around our lovely country, we have been dealing with out of control bushfires now for over 4 weeks with no end in sight. This is not only a climate emergency we are experiencing but a health emergency as well.
I don't know about you but my eyes are often stinging, my sinuses are flared up and I keep getting an irritating cough - and I am nowhere near the heart of any of these fires. The smoke we are experiencing is horrendous - with some levels of air pollution being so high it's equivalent to smoking 32 cigarettes in one day - now that is just insane!
So what can you do to support yourself during this time?
Obviously staying indoors where possible is important but we can't live in a bubble and this smoke is here to stay for some time yet! Here are a few health tips to keep nourishing yourself:
Antioxidants are key to top on - the pollution we are experiencing are at toxic levels and our body is doing it all it can to neutralise any free radicals. Your key to a broad range of antioxidants is a diet high in vegetables and fruit - the more colour and more variety the better for you
Support your bodies natural ability to detox - again veggies are your friend here especially the green guys! Adding in coriander, parsley, leafy greens, spirulina, chlorophyl, etc are key to support your liver during this time
Key nutrients to be looking at increasing in your diet and to consider supplementation with vitamins and minerals for immune and mucous membrane support such as zinc, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin D, N-Acteyl-Cysteine as well as magnesium for bronchodilation
Manuka honey is also great to include due to its wonderful immune properties
Make sure you're drinking at 2L of filtered water a day
Look at including some herbal teas to support lung health - I love Marshmallow Root, it is very soothing for our mucous membranes. Other herbal teas include Licorice, Elecampe, Mullein, Thyme and Elderberry
Another tea to consider is Green tea - high in antioxidants but does contain caffeine so don't go too nuts on it!
Speaking of herbal medicine - if you're really finding it tough going then a wonderful herbal mix might be what you need. There are many herbal tinctures that we use to support lung health (including Elecampe, Euphorbia and Licorice) as well as herbs such as St Mary's Thistle to support detoxification
Air purifiers in areas where the smoke is really bad could be a great investment - a good brand is the Homedics air purifier
To help clear out and reduce inflammation in your sinuses I love saline sprays such as Fess or using a saline solution in a neti-pot (do not just use water on its own - I have tried it and felt like razor blades!)
If you have a essential oil diffuser at home I love using Breathe Easier from Oil Garden (great for colds & flu as well)
And whilst it may not be sexy and its certainly not something we are used to in Australia getting yourself a face mask if you have respiratory issues normally might be the way to go. You can get simple ones from your local pharmacy or have a look at different ones online like Airinum brand
What else can you do for your community and our environment?
A few tips include:
Sign this petition asking our government to meet with emergency leaders
GIVIT are coordinating donations and goods for Queenslanders affected by the fires
Red Cross Australia also have an appeal running
Donate to the Rural Fire Service
Write to your MP to encourage urgent action on climate change, underlining that bushfire seasons are lengthening and predicted to increase in frequency and intensity. Here’s an article which may help you. To find your MP and how they vote on the issue go here.
Consider supporting an organisation focussed on revegetation such as such as Greening Australia
Looking after your health is key at all times especially when we have environmental factors greatly impacting us at this time.
To discuss how naturopathy can support your health or to get some tonics created just for you then please reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org