raging wildfire burns building and car
Dr. Elson Haas
written by
Dr. Elson Haas

Nov 10, 2018

Last year I put together these suggestions for protecting your health from the adverse effects of thick wildfire smoke in the air. Unfortunately here we are again! I would like to extend my heartfelt condolences to those in Northern and Southern California who have lost their homes and livelihoods in the current wildfires. And to those who are still in danger in some regions.

Some good news comes from hearing amazing stories and seeing people come together to help and protect others and share resources with those less fortunate. And at times like these, we also need to be careful and take care of ourselves to stay healthy.

If you are still in an area that has a lot of smoke, there are many things you can do to protect your body. For starters, wear a good mask when outdoors for more than a couple minutes. Be sure the mask says NIOSH and N95 or P100. These masks will provide some protection as they filter-out fine particulates, but don’t offer full protection from hazardous chemical gases, such as carbon monoxide and formaldehyde. We need to realize that when houses and properties go up in flames, everything there burns and enters our atmosphere; this includes paint and chemicals like pesticides in the garage, cleaning solvents, and literally hundreds of other products in each home. Thus, we have thousands of potential chemical toxins entering our air, and we don’t want to inhale these.

For respiratory protection, support, and strengthening, you might want to try some of my favorite home remedies:

First, I take some antioxidant nutrients like vitamin C (500-1,000 mgs 2-3 times daily), zinc (20-30mg daily), selenium (200mcg daily, which protects us from chemical toxins by helping form glutathione), and NAC (N-acetyl-cysteine, 500 mg twice daily).

Breathe Easy tea by Traditional Medicinals, a popular herbal tea company, can be a soothing way to support your system with a warm brew.

You could make an herbal steam by putting fresh herbs into a large bowl of hot water and breath in the vapors. You can use Rosemary, Sage, Lavender, Plantain and/or Mullein.

A good tonic to support your respiratory system is “Kick-Ass Sinus” and/or “Kick-Ass Immunity” available at Whole Foods. The primary active ingredients are Yerba Santa leaf and Baptisia root.

Essential oils can also be helpful. If you use a diffuser, you might want to try a few drops of Lavender, Rosemary, Eucalyptus, and Tea Tree. Also, doTERRA Breathe Respiratory Blend is a good option. Oils can also be used in hot water instead of fresh herbs.

If you find benefit from homeopathic remedies, Causticum 30c can help to decrease the effects of smoke inhalation.

You could do a general detox to help lessen your body of the toxicity of smoke inhalation and for general rebalancing of your system after a stressful period. And boosting your immune system with additional vitamin C and the other nutrients mentioned above can also be helpful.

Of course, there are also the emotional and psychological stressors from these extreme situations and the fallout may create challenges for months and years to come. These should not be ignored either. Seek help if you feel you, or someone you know, needs it.

Lastly, see your doctor if you have trouble breathing, are wheezing, or have new issues like fatigue or headaches.

Take good care of yourself,

Dr. Elson