After The Fire: Health Tips You Need To Know Now

With fires ripping up and down the California coast this year, we’ve had air quality and the resulting immunity issues on our minds lately.

We asked integrative health specialist Christine Dionese to share fire health tips to help protect you and the fam while air quality is compromised.  Air quality is still compromised long after the fires are put out, so think about continuing to practice these tips for a while.

Note: The syrup, accompanying drink recipe and all other suggestions we’re sharing are safe for your children’s use.

Drink Broth Daily. 

To aid and prevent a sore throat, turn to broths during the fires and after. Broths help thin and eliminate mucous that can collect in the bronchial passageways as well as hydrate bronchial tissues where inflammation has taken a toll. Our friends at Owl Venice and Brothee offer high quality, medicinal broths that are available for vegetarians and vegans as well. Learn all about the benefits of drinking broth here.

Invest in At-Home Air Filters. 

We hope the fires will be out soon but as they smolder, air pollution will continue to be a serious threat, not only outside, but in our homes as well. Breathe easier with an air filter like Levoit’s whole room Air Purifier with true HEPA filter. 

Use Cover-Ups Outdoors.

If children and babies must leave the house, use bandanas and scarves for them as well. For babies and even the whole family, my favorite multi-use go-to is Native Wild’s nest. You can help baby with their protective, yet breathable fabric. It’s also a great option for little kids to wear around their necks to easily pull up over their mouths and noses as needed.

Read more about using a scarf in general as an environmental cover up here.

Diffuse Essential Oils for Better Breathing. 

Essential oil diffusers and essential oil nebulizers are an excellent way to efficiently fill your entire space with therapeutic-grade oils. If you don’t have a diffuser, yet want to experience the benefits of these oils on-demand, mix these oils below with distilled water, spray directly in front you and inhale any of the following: peppermint, eucalyptus, frankincense, lavender, chamomile, clove.

You may also spray in your environment and on your clothing. This spray is great to help easy breathing through the night and calm the entire family, including pets. Learn more about the benefits of essential oil here.

Stay Hydrated. 

I always think this is an obvious one but still often overlooked, the power of hydration is essential! If your lips are dry, taste salty or it’s becoming hard to swallow, you are likely already dehydrated. Along with nourishing bronchial passageways, hydrate with filtered, mineral-rich water. Fruit-infused water makes it extra easy (and delicious) to drink up!

Try Acupuncture to Rejuvenate. 

If anything can help reduce inflammation fast in the lungs and bronchial passages and fortify the entire constitution from exhaustion, it’s acupuncture, and it’s safe for the entire family. Dr. Angela Huber, Santa Monica-based acupuncturist explains that acupuncture helps strengthen the body and nourish the tissues affected by acute and ongoing smoke exposure. If you already suffer from asthma, acupuncture can be particularly effective.

Colloidal Silver + Glutathione

Discuss advanced care with your integrative health professional. When the Napa fires hit, my clients started asking what to do for asthma, the elderly, if bronchitis or pneumonia pre-existed and and just for general care from the extreme and constant smoke inhalation. In these cases I suggested nebulizing Sovereign Silver colloidal silver and glutathione (separately). Both have been shown effective in my consulting practice and are suggested by many of my integrative health and wellness colleagues. Be sure to consult with yours before administering this suggestion.

For the Kiddos: Address fear. 

Fear might be the first thing to quell to help prepare and relieve your child. Acknowledge and respect that your child’s fear is real while assuring them that being prepared (to potentially evacuate) is the best way to stay safe.

Elderberry Immunity Cocktail

I was in the middle of developing this recipe to help boost guest’s spirits during the holiday season — not everyone wants to consume alcohol and some of us need that extra leg up on immunity. When the fires started, I quickly transitioned to focus the recipe as a fire-aid because the syrup is medicinal (as well as delicious!). The syrup alone is perfect to help enhance bronchial passageway healing, heal a sore throat and enhance seasonal immunity. The drink, however, is easy enough, packed with superfoods and pretty to enjoy with friends. Maybe it’s just the thing you need right now to relax the first chance you get to sit!

If you decide to use fresh elderberry to create your own syrup as a base, please know that consuming raw elderberries can create nausea and neurological side effects when consumed, so we always suggest cooking them first as directed in our recipe below. Never include the leaves and stems. The commercially prepared syrups have been previously cooked to avoid these side effects. For maximum potential benefit without the potential risk from raw elderberries, I expressly suggest cooking. Nibble on just a few elderberries if adding as a garnish.

If your guest is suffering from an acute issue, you can use an additional teaspoon of elderberry syrup in the mocktail, but add after the drink is made.

Elderberry Syrup Mocktail
Yields 1-2 petite mocktails


For the elderberry syrup:
1 cup fresh organic elderberries or ½ cup dried organic
3 cups filtered water
¾ cup raw organic honey
1 tsp Terrasoul camu camu

For the mocktail:
½ cup organic cranberries
1 cup/8 oz brewed hibiscus tea (can be used warm or room temp)
1 tsp Terrasoul acerola powder
2 tsp elderberry syrup


For the elderberry syrup:

In a medium glass or ceramic saucepan combine water and elderberries. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, then simmer for 30-45 minutes covered.

Remove pan from heat, allow to cool for a few minutes, then remove lid to gently press remaining juice from berries. A fork works well!

Use a cheesecloth or nut milk bag to strain juice into a non-plastic bowl and allow to cool. Be sure to cool elderberries before adding honey to protect the integrity of the anti-microbial properties of your elderberry syrup.

Once cooled, add honey ⅓ cup at a time while stirring into juice with a small whisk or fork. Next add camu powder, stirring until blended well.

Save remaining syrup for later use in a glass jar with a non-BPA or rust-free lid in a cool, dark place.

For the mocktail:

In a high-speed blender blend cranberries with hibiscus tea. After blending, separate out pulp, rinse blender, and add juice back in.

Add syrup and acerola powder to blender. Blend all ingredients slowly to combine, then on high for 15 seconds.

Garnish glass with elderberries or cranberries, pour in mocktail and serve.

Discover more holistic health tips from Christine here. To learn how to help those effected by the fires learn more here. 

The Chalkboard Mag and its materials are not intended to treat, diagnose, cure or prevent any disease. All material on The Chalkboard Mag is provided for educational purposes only. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified healthcare provider for any questions you have regarding a medical condition, and before undertaking any diet, exercise or other health related program. 

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