Does Wildfire Smoke Harm Your Health? (Surprising)

Red itchy eyes, burning lungs, a hacking cough…

If you live in one of the (at least) 13 U.S. states stuck under a smoky haze from the blazing wildfires in Canada, you’re likely feeling its effects every time you step outside.

The blanket of noxious smoke hanging over the Northeast and Midwestern parts of the country makes it perfectly clear that the air quality out there is poor.

After all, you can literally SEE and SMELL it hundreds of miles away from its source.

But just HOW dangerous is breathing in that smoke?

Let’s take a closer look.

I’ll cut to the chase. Wildfire smoke poses serious health risks.

I’ve warned readers about the dangers of air pollution before. But wildfire smoke is even WORSE.

Research comparing typical air pollution to the same amount of wildfire smoke shows that wildfire pollution causes MORE inflammation and tissue damage.

You see, the haze lingering out there isn’t “just” smoke. It can contain toxic gases, dust, dirt, and other particulate matter such as plastic, metal, and toxic chemicals (including phthalates and dioxins).

And when it comes to particulate matter, the smaller it is, the more danger it poses. Breathing in particles 2.5 micrometers or smaller (PM2.5), can irritate your respiratory linings. They can even worm their way deep into your alveoli.

Protective macrophage cells will surround some of them. Others may get trapped in mucus and get coughed up. But some can travel from your lungs to other organs.

Common smoke exposure symptoms include throat, eye, and skin irritation, as well as coughing, sneezing, wheezing, and chest tightness.

We know from research on firefighters that breathing in wildfire smoke over several days can trigger lung function and heart problems. Plus, studies link wildfire smoke to higher rates of heart attacks, cardiac arrests, and strokes.

And there’s growing evidence that the adverse effects of smoke exposure can linger long after the haze has cleared, including higher risks for…

  • heart disease
  • respiratory illnesses
  • lung cancer
  • brain tumors
  • cognitive issues
  • fungal infections

The bottom line? You should do your best to AVOID exposure.

That means when there’s wildfire smoke in your area, stay inside if possible. Limit all necessary outdoor activities. Close the windows and vents in your home and car. And pay attention to local air-quality warnings.

Consider investing in a true-HEPA air purifier for your home. A moderately priced model should effectively clear the particles found in wildfire smoke from an average bedroom or living room.

Oh, and those N95 masks you purchased to protect yourself from COVID can come in handy here. If you MUST be outside mask up to reduce the amount of particulate matter you inhale.

For more tips on reducing exposure indoors and out, check out the EPA’s pages on Reducing Exposure to Wildfire Smoke.

P.S. When you think of air pollution the typical culprits come to mind… things like car exhaust, factory fumes, and wildfire smoke. But a particularly nasty air pollutant could be hiding in your OWN home. CLICK HERE to reveal what it is.

Sources:

“Review of the health effects of wildland fire smoke on wildland firefighters and the public.” Inhal Toxicol. 2016;28(3):95-139. doi: 10.3109/08958378.2016.1145771. PMID: 26915822.

“Long-term exposure to wildfires and cancer incidence in Canada: a population-based observational cohort study,” The Lancet Planetary Health, Published: May, 2022, doi.org/10.1016/S2542-5196(22)00067-5

Dr. Scott Olson, ND

Written By Dr. Scott Olson, ND

Nearly 25 years ago, failed mainstream medical treatments left Dr. Olson in constant pain – and his health in ruins. And that’s when he did something REVOLUTIONARY. He began his career in medicine – and dedicated his life to uncovering the true, underlying causes of disease.
Through his innovative medical practices in Tennessee and Colorado, Dr. Olson has helped cure countless seniors from across America of arthritis… heart disease… diabetes… and even cancer. All without risky prescription drugs or painful surgeries.

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