Monitor outdoor air quality. Stay aware of trends so that you may alter habits to reduce exposure. This is especially useful for those with lung disease or who are otherwise ill. AIRNOW.gov provides daily readings. Some locations also have a forecast that is useful for planning when to spend days outside or opt for indoor activities. Avoid going outdoors during traffic hours, as added pollutants saturate the air during these times.
Ensure that you have checked in with your doctor about individual risks. Medications should be refilled and medical devices up to date. Set an alarm to remind you about daily medications, and always have emergency medications on board. Know your asthma action plan. Reach out if you experience symptoms during increased air pollution, even if you do not have any known diagnosis.
Studies have found that subjects with lung disease have lower fruit and vegetable intake, and diets with lower antioxidant intake. Oxidative stress from air pollution, tobacco smoke, infection, and obesity are associated with lung inflammation. This worsens and leads to pulmonary disease. Eat at least 5 servings daily of fruits and vegetables and avoid unhealthy foods as these will increase oxidative damage.
- Speak to your healthcare provider about your vitamin D levels. Research has shown that supplementation may reduce the risk for increased symptoms in lung disease, and even prevent a decline in lung function. Remember, too much vitamin D is toxic and so guidance is important.
- Omega 3-fatty supplementation was also shown to have this effect. Eat food rich in Omega 3’s and speak to your provider about supplementation recommendations.
- NAC (N-acetyl cysteine) at 600 mg daily increased glutathione in bronchoalveolar lavage (lung samples). Glutathione protects tissue from oxidative damage and helps to detoxify the body from damaging substances.
DON’T FORGET ABOUT INDOOR AIR QUALITY
When levels of pollution are high outside the public is recommended to stay indoors. Unfortunately, air pollutants do also travel inside. Keep windows and doors closed, ensure that air filters are replaced frequently, and add a HEPA air filter to your indoor space. Pollutants are trapped in dust, so sweep and dust often. Finally, fill your home with air cleansing plants!
Breath Easy Tea by Traditional Medicinals is full of herbs that are researched and found useful in folk medicine for pulmonary support.
Hang eucalyptus in your shower for a daily steam inhalation with your shower.