Boulder’s air quality has been all over the map this summer. Hazy, smokey days, even when the fires are not homegrown, are not as rare as they once were. As fires become more prevalent throughout the country, winds may bring smoke from just about anywhere; therefore, it is a good idea to know how to best support optimal respiratory health. If you can see it in the air, you are breathing it. It may be causing symptoms such as a stuffy nose and a frequent need to clear your throat. Accordingly, recent air quality reports suggest children stay inside – this, just as school is starting up, and just when they really need to be outdoors to blow off some steam. It can be a real real bummer! Here are some commonsense things you can do to increase the quality of air in your home during these times, as well as some herbal and nutritional safeguards you might want to know about. After all, we still need to move our bodies outside.
First of all, know your risks. Do you have a very young child in the home? If so, his/her lungs are not fully developed and so extra caution is in order. Do you have a lung disease, asthma, or other chronic lung condition? If so, proceed with caution. Even without these predisposing factors, anyone can suffer if breathing air with extra particulate in it. And with cold and flu season right upon us, the poor air quality can make individuals even more susceptible to germs going around.
Start with some common sense:
- Check the air quality reports and recommendations (Colorado Air Quality or Weather Underground Air Quality Index), and use your own best judgement as to weather the risks outweigh the benefits for you or your children to recreate outdoors. Also, consider how long and how much exertion you are comfortable with given the air quality.
- When the air quality is poor, consider closing your windows. If you have forced air and are able, turn on the fan so that the air is run through the furnace filter. Use the highest quality air filter you can. Look into the highest filtration 3M Filtrete filters.
- If you don’t have forced air (or even if you do), consider purchasing an air purifier. These can range greatly in quality, price, and volume. Here are some options:
- Austin Air & EnviroKlenz both sell a variety of top notch air purifiers – from single-room purifiers to whole house air purifiers. These are an investment, yet, if you suffer from respiratory health issues, worth the money.
- Guardian Technologies GermGaurdian is a useful more economical option for a single room: Lightweight and easy to move from room to room as needed.
Herbal approaches you can take today to support respiratory health:
- Drink a tea daily that supports respiratory health, such as Breathe Deep by Yogi Tea.
- Use Lavender and Eucalyptus oils in a diffuser (for 10 years and older).
- Use elderberry syrup by the spoonful or mixed in water for a tasty drink.
Nutritional approaches to respiratory health:
- Consume a mineral rich diet heavy in fruits and vegetables.
- Reduce or eliminate any known food sensitivities/allergies that could contribute to congestion and inflammation.
Lastly, exercise and breath work are actually in order, even outdoors, if your routine calls for it. Rigorous exercise dilates airways and helps us clear our lungs of particulate when we cough. Regular deep breathing exercises help us maintain the full working capacity of our lungs.
So, if you can, go ahead and take a deep breath right now. If you are struggling with the air quality and would like support beyond these simple measures, I can help.
Call today to make an appointment: 720-340-0193