Do you live in an area that is affected by wildfire smoke? If so, your health may be negatively impacted. Smoke from wildfires is made up of a combination of gases and fine particles when organic materials are burned, and there are confirmed and suspected carcinogens in smoke. The microscopic particles can penetrate deep into your lungs, and also cause a range of health problems including burning eyes, sore throat, runny nose and fatigue.
I’m personally very sensitive to wildfire smoke. Even cooking smoke is enough to send me into coughing fits. This may or may not be from back from when I was a wildland firefighter for the Bureau of Land Management. Working on the front lines of a wildfire long-term can be hard on health, with short-term effects including headaches, nausea, fatigue and respiratory distress. Long-term effects of exposure to wildfire smoke can include an increased risk of cardiovascular disease. In fact, my coworkers and I used to joke that our job equated to smoking a pack of cigarettes every few hours. After looking at a few studies, our jokes weren’t too far from the truth.
But what about regular people, just going about their lives then wildfire smoke settles into their neighborhood, resulting in breathing it in for days or weeks on end? The results can be minor for most, but those microscopic particles can cause long term problems if you’re already a sensitive individual – if you have heart or lung disease or asthma, children and the elderly, pregnant women and people with diabetes.
What can you do to minimize the health implications of exposure to wildfire smoke?
- Stay indoors and keep your windows and doors closed – the less exposure the better.
- Pay attention to local air quality index reports
- Consider buying an air cleaner
- Buy salt lamps for your home
- Have N-95 or P-100 masks on hand (dusk masks will not filter out the microscopic particles from smoke)
- Try halotherapy
Halotherapy, also known as salt therapy, is derived from the Greek word halo, which translates to salt. It is good for a lot of things, including reducing the effects of seasonal allergies and accelerating the rate at recovering from a cold or flu. You can check out our directory to experience halotherapy in a salt room near you. We have the most complete halotherapy directory available, with at least one location in every state in the United States, and other countries as well.