Wild fires, smoke from factories, cigarette smoke, 2nd-hand cigarette smoke (breathing cigarette smoke from others), kitchen fires, and other smoke can cause mucous membranes and the lungs to become irritated and inflamed. All types of smoke can cause damage to the body if enough is inhaled. The immune system is also affected by breathing smoke and can result in joint pain and other conditions not usually associated with smoke inhalation.
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People with asthma, emphysema, heart disease, sinus problems, and allergies are especially prone to developing problems from smoke. Common symptoms from smoke inhalation and breathing second hand smoke include fatigue, coughing, throat irritation, watering eyes, sinus congestion, wheezing, shortness of breath, headaches, and nose bleeds.
Smoke in the air? Stay hydrated! Drink lots of water and herbal teas with lemon. Also drink mullein tea.
Herbs can really help to heal smoke damaged tissue and mucus membranes. Building immunity is also important for healing. Try astragalus, ginseng, yellowroot, and licorice tea or capsules. Eat oatmeal, yogurt, and bananas to soothe the throat.
It is unpleasant but can bring relief to the sinuses – just snort some warm salt water from a bowl up into your nose then blow it back out into a tissue.
Follow the directions on the label. Buy drops that are for lubricating the eyes, not to get the red out.
If over-the-counter or prescription eye drops are not available, use distilled water to make a week yellowroot, calendula, or eyebright tea. Cool completely, strain two times through clean coffee filters or sterile cotton cloth, and pour a little into eyes with a teaspoon.
If you live in an area where there is obvious smoke in the air or where you can smell smoke, stay indoors and keep windows closed. Don't forget pets – bring them inside, too.
Do not fry food at high temperatures -- you don't need to breath smoke from cooking oil getting too hot. Do not burn candles. Do not use fireplaces or wood heaters unless they are vented correctly. Avoid air fresheners, incense, and cigarette smoke, too.
Here are some things you can do:
If breathing becomes labored, seek a location where smoke is not present. This is especially important for babies, children, the elderly, and people with existing conditions. If exposed to lots of smoke, get emergency help as soon as possible.
A wet dish cloth is more beneficial than a face mask. Face masks are designed to trap larger particles like sawdust, not smoke.
Fresh vegetables, fruits, and berries can really help the body to remove toxins. Antioxidants like rose hips and elderberries help the body to heal. Also consider taking a vitamin C, vitamin A, and vitamin D supplement for a couple of weeks after smoke exposure.
"The only way to really learn about herbal medicine is to touch and smell herbs, taste them, use them daily, and grow them if possible. Herbal medicine is a way of life. It is not a quick fix." ... Janice Boling, herbalist, web designer, writer, photographer
* Note - the information on this website has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.
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