Whether it is gasses from volcanoes, or fumes from traffic, air pollution is a serious problem. Tragically this health crisis keeps getting worse with more automobiles and industry. Once upon a time if you went to a deserted Pacific Island, there was no problem with polluted air. Now, the winds carry these pollutants even to the distant sunny beaches!
Effects of smoke, gasses and Kilauea Volcano:
• Decreased mucus secretion
• Eye irritation
• Sinus congestion
• Sore and dry throat
There are two problems with polluted air. One is the size of the particles. Usually these are carbon or of carbon like composition. The tiny ones can be moved out of the lungs by the action of tiny oars called cilia. The larger ones are too big to be handled by the cilia and so they remain in place and cause inflammation and coughing. When you see the black soot on your skin, you know it is time to grab an N95 filter mask.
The second problem is one of chemical composition. Sulphur dioxide – SO2 – is a common product of burning coal. It combines with other products to form dozens of chemicals, one of which is sulphuric acid, a highly caustic acid. It is any wonder that your eyes burn, nose feels sore, and you cough?
Where farming consists of burning left over crops to clear the land and put good chemicals into the soil, the problem is worse. Winter time can be worse than summer when the polluted air is held in place by weather conditions.
In the killer London smog of December 1952, many of the deaths were reactions to the products formed by the smog chemicals. At that time coal was used daily for heating furnaces and fireplaces and for generating power to factories and power plants. Coal is high in sulfur compounds. The particularly cold air that month kept the chemicals from rising. Medical reports in the following weeks estimated that 4,000 people had died prematurely and 100,000 more were made ill because of the smog’s effects on the human respiratory tract.
After exposure to CO2 and SO2, the nasal and chest cilia are inactivated. When the cilia no longer act to move bacteria and viruses out of the nose and sinuses, bacteria remain in place and cause infection. Good therapy, whenever there is pollution is to get those cilia moving again.
How to get good cilia movement:
Hum. When you hum the vibration is transmitted to the cilia. The vibration also shakes up thick mucus. The thick mucus impedes cilia movement, so making them thisn is good therapy.
Green and Black Tea. These contain L-theonine, a product that stimulates cilia movement. Can be with or without caffeine.
Lemon and Lime. Drink these liquids as they thin the mucus.
Honey. Honey is bactericidal and helps significantly with cough.
Use pulsed irrigation. Products such as the Hydro Pulse® Nasal/Sinus irrigator are designed to irrigate the nose and sinuses at a pulsed rate ideal to restore good nasal cilia movement. Because the stream pulses, it is better able to remove thick mucus areas. If the sinuses are blocked, often restoring the nasal cilia gets them opened.
Use of the Hydro Pulse® avoids these difficulties:
You don’t want to irrigate daily. Daily irrigation removes the good factors and immune bodies that normally defend the nose. With the Hydro Pulse® you quickly restore cilia and then stop. Once the cilia are normal, there is no need to be more normal. This way you keep the good disease fighters in your nose/sinuses.
Flowback: Squeeze irrigators and pots have flowback. The infected material from the nose flows back into the device; here you have a perfect place for bacteria to grow. Thus patients may continue to re- infect themselves.
Overuse of antibiotics. Generally antibiotics are taken by mouth. Because Hydro Pulse irrigation enters the sinuses, doctors prefer to add the antibiotic to the Hydro Pulse irrigation and avoid the systemic use. This avoids the side effects of stomach upset from the antibiotics.
It is most important re smog and air pollution to use masks correctly. The N95 is an effective mask, but only if it is fitted well. Practice using this well before a mirror.
If you can, avoid outdoor activities on the bad days that are announced by the news media and the embassy in many countries.