The wildfires that ravaged through northern and southern California in recent weeks brought devastation to many, burning down entire homes and neighbourhoods, while also leading to serious injury even death. The are no words to describe the destruction of a fast-moving wildfire and it is perhaps only images themselves that give the most accurate depiction of their scale and ferocity.
Unfortunately, the risks and dangers of California’s wildfires haven’t vanished with the fire. In the midst of a fiery chaos California residents are are not only dealing with the loss of loved ones and property damage, but also repercussions to their own health, which can become worse over time.
As a former forest fire-fighter myself, I know the symptoms of smoke exposure all too well. After several months each year of working at the epicenter of where big fires start – the thick smoke of a burning forest was commonplace and my health would suffer for much longer than my contract! Coughing, shortened breath, headaches, sore throat, constant symptoms of a sinus infection and black mucus (“fire boogers”) lasted for about a month after my fire season ended. Staying healthy is possible, but it’s a challenge.
California Wildfires 2018. Source: Business Insider
Even if the air is beginning to appear less smoky, air quality can remain jeopardized for weeks to come. Air pollution from wildfires may not be the most obvious bi-product, but it certainly has one of the most devastating long-term impacts on the health of those exposed. While the composition that makes up air quality cannot be determined with any kind of precision on a day-to-day basis, it is certain this toxic mixture of fine particles containing plastics, chemically-treated construction materials, glasses, and gases can cause very serious health issues. There’s a reason why structural fire-fighters are equipped with oxygen masks every time they enter the site of an active fire.
The potential health risks of structural and wildfire smoke range from temporary discomfort to serious lung and heart conditions. Severity is often determined by the duration of exposure to smoke, as well as sensitivity of the lungs, which are often compromised in both children and the elderly. Adults with pre-existing respiratory and heart issues also seem to be among the most vulnerable groups to suffer.
While the long-term effects of wildfires are still being studied, there are indications of miniature wood particles gathering in the folds of lung tissue and compromising the immune system, The New York Times reports. Given that the functions of the heart and lungs are co-dependent, any pollutants affecting the lungs may affect the heart as well. In addition, minuscule particles in the air in the aftermath of wildfires may also enter the bloodstream and trigger reactions in the form of inflammation.
However horrible all of this sounds, there are precautions that can reduce smoke damage. Minimizing the harmful effects of smoke damage to your health and protecting yourself is possible with proper detoxification and nutrition. Today we will discuss specific steps you can take to preserve your health during smoke exposure, focusing on Liposomal Vitamin C – a powerful, high-absorbency antioxidant and an all-natural way to detox your body after inevitable smoke inhalation.
Experts advise that people living in the surrounding areas where wildfires are burning can minimize smoke damage by avoiding leaving their homes as much as possible until the air has cleared, or local health authorities have advised otherwise. Furthermore, keeping the doors and windows closed and a fan on to increase air circulation in your home can also help. In case you’re using an air conditioner in your home, make sure that it is set to “air recirculation” so that it isn’t drawing in contaminated air from the outside into your home. In the event that you do leave your home, it is advised that residents wear a mask in order to offer minimal filtration and also keep the windows in your car rolled up. As soon as you get home, take a shower and change into fresh clothes to avoid pollutants contaminating your skin.
Another way to help combat contamination in your home is to invest in an air purifier, which helps to cleanse the air in your home and get filter out any pollutants. Since consumer-grade air purifiers don’t often offer the ability to purify the air in an entire house, set it next to where you sleep or place it in the bedroom. Prioritize the spaces where loved ones at risk (children, older people, or individuals with existing health issues) are spending most of their time.
One of your best friends during the period of detoxification from wildfire smoke will be liquids. The toxic particles of burned objects trapped in your lungs could contaminate other organs if you don’t work on flushing them out of your system. For this reason we can’t stress the importance of hydration enough! Drink more water, then drink even more. You should incorporate hot liquids as part of your hydration, which promote the movement of the cilium (filament that covers the tissues of cells) and therefore encourages the removal of mucous and saliva containing contaminants.
Finally, let’s talk about your diet. What you eat and how you nourish your body with will play a major role in the detoxification process. Whole foods as well as nutrient-dense natural antioxidants - fruits and vegetables; especially those packed with flavonoids, including apples, beans, onions, strawberries, brussels sprouts, as well as black and green tea are all helpful. Although dietary antioxidant sources are definitely recommended for detoxification, you’ll also want to selectively incorporate antioxidant supplements that offer high bioavailability, such as bioavailable Liposomal Vitamin C supplement.
According to a 2002 study, Vitamin C is an electron donor, which makes it a “potent water-soluble antioxidant.” Vitamin C can boost antioxidant levels in the blood and aid the body in fighting free radicals, damaged molecules which, when accumulated, lead to a state known as oxidative stress. A study on the impact of Vitamin C supplementation on oxidative stress, conducted by Ljiljana M. Popovic, found that “Vitamin C readily scavenges free radicals and may thereby prevent oxidative damage of important biological macromolecules.”
According to LiveScience.com, researchers at London’s Imperial College found that patients with low levels of Vitamin C were more prone to respiratory issues when faced with air pollution, which supports the claim that natural antioxidants play an extremely important role in combating air pollutants. This study, conducted on 209 patients diagnosed with COPD or asthma who were exposed to air pollution, found that levels of Vitamin C were significantly decreased in these patients, thus supporting the claim that Vitamin C combats the effects of pollutants due to its antioxidant properties. The study concluded that the risk of hospital admission was 1.2 times greater among patients lacking Vitamin C. Being that humans are one of the few mammals that can’t product Vitamin C on our own, supplementation during periods where we have been exposed to smoke or other toxins is even more necessary.
In 2015, a study was conducted by Szabolcs Péter and found that the intake of essential micronutrients, including Vitamin C, may modify the negative effects of air pollution including “fine particulate matter and gases”. These substances are in abundance in the aftermath of wildfires, especially when structural damage to homes and buildings is involved.
The ability of Vitamin C to enhance immune function is probably its most widely recognized benefit within the medical community. When faced with smoke-filled or polluted air, you want to ensure you're doing everything you can to keep your immune system strong. Vitamin C has been known to promote the production and protection of white blood cells (lymphocytes and phagocytes) necessary for fighting infections, according to HealthLine.com. Furthermore, an article in Life Extension magazine on the role of Vitamin C on the immune system emphasizes the importance of an adequate supply of Vitamin C, which promotes the function of immunologically active cells and molecules. Vitamin C supplementation have also been found to “enhance several immune system parameters”, a study by Ströhle A. and Hahn A. reported.
The biggest benefits of Vitamin C are found in cutting-edge liposomal encapsulation technology, which allows for the nutrient to enter the bloodstream directly, without any of it being wasted or damaged in the process. Since the nutrient is reduced to microscopic bubbles, it successfully avoids the digestive system altogether, which could otherwise create digestive discomfort for the host. In the bloodstream, the nutrient is absorbed quickly and ensures up to 90% bioavailability! A study published in 2016 confirmed that liposomal encapsulation of Vitamin C grants significantly higher bioavailability than traditional Vitamin C tablets, powders, or capsules, which is exactly what the body requires when managing all the negative effects of smoke damage.
In summary, after a period of being exposed to toxins from smoke, your body needs all the immune-boosting nutrients it can get. Being more selective about your nutrition and opting for all-natural antioxidants with high bioavailability, such as non-GMO Liposomal Vitamin C will help you and your loved ones stay health and detoxify damage to your body. Head over to our online store now to learn more about how Liposomal Vitamin C can help.
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3. Ljiljana M. Popovic, Nebojsa R. Mitic, Dijana Miric, Boban Bisevac, Mirjana Miric, and Brankica Popovic, “Influence of Vitamin C Supplementation on Oxidative Stress and Neutrophil Inflammatory Response in Acute and Regular Exercise,” Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity, vol. 2015, Article ID 295497, 7 pages, 2015. https://doi.org/10.1155/2015/295497.
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