4 Naturopathic tips to keep your family healthy this summer
Summer is finally approaching and we are all looking forward to soaking up the rays and spending time enjoying the outdoors. However, in today’s climate, we need to be more diligent with protecting our health against the many harmful (and potentially toxic) effects that exposure to the outdoors may bring. Here are 4 Naturopathic tips we often discuss with our patients to keep you and your family healthy and safe over the summer months.
(1) Smoke Protection
It is early in the season but Calgary and surrounding areas have already been affected with days of smoke blanketing the city from forest fires. The smoke makes it incredibly difficult to breathe and is especially dangerous to those already suffering from respiratory conditions like asthma, allergies and COPD. Limiting your time outdoors and minimizing your exposure to the smoke is a great first step. We also encourage patients to invest in a really good air filtering system in their home and work environment. One good example is the IQ Air system, which uses HyperHEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) technology to effectively filter harmful particles and pollutants from the air. Drs. Patti and Colin have one in their home and the clinic Vive Health has a unit running constantly. Ask us for more information!
We also have effective Naturopathic support for lung health that involves helping the body clear out particulates and keeping your lungs working optimally.
(2) Tick Bite Protection
The warmer weather in Alberta is a favourable condition for ticks to flourish. Ticks are often found in forested areas, long grass and among fallen leaves. There are several types of ticks but bites from black-legged ticks are ones the pose the greatest health concern for bacteria causing Lyme disease, a condition characterized by many debilitating symptoms such as fatigue, memory loss, joint pain/swelling and neurological disturbances. The best way to prevent a tick bite is to avoid tick-infested areas, wear long-sleeved clothing, check your clothes for ticks often and apply bug repellant to your skin and clothing (see below). If a tick is found, safely remove the tick and submit the tick for testing. CanLyme provides handy tick-removal kits and the Alberta website provides a variety of locations to drop off tick samples.
Unfortunately, conventional Lyme Disease testing can be unreliable and miss many of the over 23 strains of spirochetes that can cause Lyme Disease. Additionally, many infections caused by tick bites also involve co-infections that are not routinely tested. There are only a few labs around the world that are considered gold standards for Lyme Disease testing. Vive Health offers these specialized tests – ask one of our Naturopathic Doctors for more information.
(3) Bug Repellants
With the rise of infections from mosquito, tick and flea bites, it is becoming increasingly important to take measures to protect ourselves. Unfortunately, there is not one bug repellant that is perfect and completely safe. Depending on the area, the risks of infection, and demographic (ie. pregnant, adult, children), the Environmental Working Group (EWG) recommends using a bug repellent that contains active ingredients shown to be effective with low toxicity concerns. For more information, read the EWG’s Guide to Bug Repellents.
The EWG also annually releases their Guide to Sunscreens– one of our favourite and commonly recommended resources for our patients. The guide has exposed how many sunscreen products sold fall short of effectively providing sun protection and contain unsafe ingredients shown to disrupt hormones and contribute to system toxicity. At Vive Health, we recommend locally made Rocky Mountain Soap Company’s sunscreen with a SPF31. Dr. Patti’s past blog post on Sunscreens can provide you with more information on how to stay safe in the sun.
~ Dr. Patti