Self-care in cold and flu season
Here are some suggestions for staying healthy during the winter months. Most products can be obtained from local health food stores (Appalachian Whole Foods in Carlisle carries all the products mentioned in this article.) The store is located at 100 West High Street in Carlisle PA 17013, 717. 241 6982.
COLDS: The best remedy I have found is an herbal product called Kold Kare. Take the first tablet as soon as you notice any symptoms; it is also useful for allergies and sinus headaches.
This product contains an herb, andrographis, so you should check with your health care provider to determine if there might be any interactions with other medications you are taking. http://www.karenherbs.com/kold_kare.htm
FLU: Oscillococcinum is a homeopathic remedy. Take at the first sign of the flu. (In my household we keep at least two packages at hand since it is most effective if taken right away; and if you have the flu who feels like driving anywhere?) Because this is a homeopathic remedy, it can be taken safely in conjuncton with any other medication.
COUGHS: Another homeopathic preparation, Chestal, is safe enough for children over 2. The cough might get a bit worse right after taking the Chestal but will subside soon afterward. It has a honey base so it is easy for kids to take.
SINUS CONGESTION: When a sinus headache hits, relief is only a hot, moistened washcloth away. Hold the cloth over your sinuses on and off for at least 5 minutes. Also effective is a euclyptus inhaler, or a sinus irrigation using a saline solution or one that contains eucalyptus (Alkalol)-the directions are on the box of the nasal irrigation tube. Sounds gross but it works very well. Kold Kare is also effective. Of course, if your sinuses have become infected you may need a prescription for an antibiotic. This site has great directions: http://altmedicine.about.com/cs/allergiesasthma/a/SinusIrrigation.htm
Don’t forget Vitamin C and Echineacea with Goldenseal-(tablets or liquidfor help with all the above. Echinacea should only be taken for the duration of symptoms, plus an addition 48 hour if there has been a serious infection.
Taking relatively large doses of VItamin D, in a gel capsule or in a liquid suspension, have been found to both reduce inflammation as well as significantly boost the immune system. Most people do well on 1-2,000 international units a day.