Hello and Happy New Year from Oxford!
It has been a strange start to the year for many of us, with catastrophic bush fires burning across Australia that have resulted in absolutely devastating consequences for many individuals, our native wildlife and environment. It has been heartbreaking to watch from afar; and we have been obsessively reading / watching / listening to the crisis unfold. While I feel guilt for being away from home while all of this is happening, and not ‘on the ground’ so to speak, it also makes me even more grateful for the opportunity to be in Oxford over these few months, where there is no fire beyond the hearth and the air is clear and cool every day.
As you’d be aware, one of the biggest concerns, apart from the physical damage of the fires, is health consequences associated with ongoing smoke inhalation and poor air quality. I have seen some great resources online with advice on how to support your health in the face of these challenges. The graphic below, from my naturopath friend Gabby Campbell, has some simple and practical tips on how to support respiratory health when the air quality is poor. I would also add to this the use of herbal medicines such as Mullein, Elecampane, Licorice and Adhatoda – to relieve congestion and support lung function – as well as supplemental nutrients such as N-Acetyl Cysteine, to help thin mucus and break up inflammation, especially in the lungs. In Sydney and other affected cities, on days when the air quality is very poor, you’re advised to stay inside (use of HEPA air filter ideal, if possible) and use a P2 mask if active or exercising outside. To check the air quality in your area, you can refer to the NSW Government Air Quality Index, which is updated hourly – as I type this, the air is OK across most of NSW, which is wonderful to see after weeks of smoke and haze.
I would also encourage you to check in with your mental health, stress and anxiety levels, as I know of many people who have found this significantly affected over the past couple of months.
Sending lots of love and rain and clean air and good health from Oxford to Australia! We are otherwise well over here, and I’ll be back in touch with everyone next month with an update on clinic scheduling and appointments, for my return to Sydney in March.