WHAT ARE THREE WINTER HEALTH AILMENTS THAT ARE COMMON DURING THIS SEASON? IS THERE A WAY TO AVERT THEM?
The three most common winter health ailments are: The Flu, The Common Cold and Winter Sore Throats. The winter season can be absolutely miserable if you are not prepared. There are no cures for any of these issues but there are ways to alleviate the symptoms if you get sick and there are preventative measures you can take to try to avoid getting sick!
HOW HARD WILL WE BE HIT WITH INFLUENZA THIS YEAR? WHAT ARE SOME SEASONAL SOLUTIONS WE SHOULD UTILIZE?
Flu season can start as early as October and linger as late as May, peaking between December and February. Symptoms of flu include muscle aches, dry cough or cough with phlegm, chills, fever, fatigue, flushing, sweating, loss of appetite, congestion, runny nose and sneezing. Some seasonal solutions for the flu include:
Go fish! A study published in Cell, found a modified omega-3 fatty acid known as protectin D1 markedly increased the chances of survival in mice infected with various strains of influenza virus. Researchers found that protectin D1 actually disrupts replication of influenza.
Go Natural: Low-cost homeopathic medicine Oscillococcinum has been clinically shown to shorten both the severity and duration of flu symptoms. When patients took it within 24 hours of the onset of symptoms, nearly 63 percent showed “clear improvement” or “complete resolution” within 48 hours. Oscillococcinum comes in the form of tiny pellets in a vial that you dispense under your tongue.
In just a few minutes they melt in your mouth, which make them easy to take – no pill to swallow – and can be used for children as young as 2 years old! It’s best to take quick action at the first signs of flu symptoms so stock up and keep Oscillococcinum in your travel bag! More information on where to find it at: oscillo.com
Get your flu shot! The vaccination takes about two weeks to kick in, so don’t wait until the last minute. The CDC says the 2017/2018 flu vaccines will help protect against the H1N1, H3N2 and B/Victoria lineage viruses, but the agency does not recommend the nasal spray flu vaccine (LAIV) for this year’s flu season because of concerns about its effectiveness.
WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A COLD AND FLU? HOW DO YOU KNOW WHICH ONE YOU HAVE? WHAT SHOULD YOU DO FOR A COMMON COLD?
Although a cold is a respiratory illness like flu, it’s caused by a different virus. The symptoms can be very similar but not as intense and usually a cold does not result in serious health problems. While flu affects the whole body and comes on quickly, a cold develops slower and mostly affects the head and respiratory system.
Some seasonal solutions for the common cold include:
Get tested! Certain tests like rapid flu tests can verify if your symptoms are indeed flu-related. A health care provider (even at a walk-in clinic) can provide test results in 20 minutes or less, but these tests must be done within the first few days of the illness. Since flu can have dire consequences, it’s important to rule out a flu diagnosis as soon as possible so you know exactly how to address the symptoms.
Say no to antibiotics! There is no cure for the common cold and it cannot be treated with antibiotics unless there is a bacterial infection involved. Doctors sometimes write prescriptions to make a patient “feel better” about coming in for an appointment, but ask if it is really necessary before you accept it.
Inhale the saline! To help relieve nasal congestion, saline nasal drops can be purchased over-the-counter.
WHAT CAUSES A WINTER SORE THROAT? WHAT REMEDIES CAN SOOTHE THE THROAT? WHEN SHOULD YOU SEE A DOCTOR FOR A SORE THROAT?
While a sore throat may be the first sign of cold or flu, it could also be a red flag for other problems – especially in the winter. Causes of throat irritations could be from being in a room with dry air from winter heating or poor air circulation for long periods of time.
Additionally, indoor allergies caused by mold or dust can cause sore throat flare up. Most sore throats will go away with some of these seasonal solutions, but if it persists for more than a week, see a doctor as it could be connected to strep throat or mononucleosis; and, if left untreated, could result in liver damage. Some seasonal solutions for winter sore throats common cold include:
Spoonful of honey! A tablespoon of honey stirred into warm water with lemon is one of the best ways to coat an irritated throat. There are also medicinal teas that are specifically made for coating the throat. It’s important to drink plenty of fluids and stay hydrated to ease throat irritation.
Gargle apple cider vinegar! If gargling salt water is not your thing, try gargling organic apple cider vinegar instead. It’s not as harsh as other vinegars and is very cleansing. Or add a spoonful of bourbon or whiskey to a glass of warm water and gargle that – it numbs and soothes the throat at the same time.
Text, don’t talk! Most importantly, a sore throat needs rest and that means stop talking. It’s harder to do than
WHAT ARE SOME FAR-OUT FACTS ABOUT INFLUENZA THAT OUR AUDIENCE MAY NOT KNOW ABOUT?
The first notion of flu was in 412 B.C. when Hippocrates reported a flu-like disease. In 1580, the first flu pandemic was documented, when more than 90 percent of the population was afflicted. Here are some other far-out facts when it comes to flu:
- The word “influenza” comes from the Italian influentia because people used to believe that the influence of planets, stars and moon caused flu.
- Flu viruses can live up to 48 hours on hard, non-porous surfaces, such as stainless steel, and up to 12 hours on cloth and tissues.
- Influenza itself is constantly mutating. Each year, three or four strains are identified before vaccine development begins.
- During the Spanish flu pandemic in 1918, doctors either prescribed shots of whiskey, or advised against all alcohol.
- The U.S. government suggests citizens stock a two-week supply of water and food, necessary prescription drugs and non-prescription drugs in case of flu quarantines or other emergencies.
WHERE CAN OUR AUDIENCE FIND MORE INFORMATION ON WHAT YOU DISCUSSED TODAY? HOW CAN THEY CONNECT WITH YOU?
Dr. Ken Redcross, M.D., is founder of Redcross Concierge, a personalized medical practice designed to enhance the patient-doctor relationship while providing convenient access to a full spectrum of healthcare services and holistic and wellness counseling.
Dr. Redcross answers your questions below:
Please ask the doctor why a lot of people think we should not get the flu shot because it actually causes a lot of problems? Thank you and I wish you all a happy and blessed holiday season!
Thanks for this question, as it is quite common. People tend to worry that if they receive the flu vaccine it will actually “give them the flu”. Luckily this is not the case, as the vaccine is either an “inactivated” virus which is NOT infectious or a vaccine that is produced without a flu virus at all (recombinant). Now confusion can sometime come when someone say they felt “sick” after getting the shot. That tends to be because some of us can have some pretty minor side effects like soreness where the shot was given, aches, or a low grade temp (approx.. 1 to 2%), but luckily they are very short term.
Doctor, can a cold or the flu increase blood pressure?
Absolutely. Remember the common cold and influenza are both viruses that affect our bodies ability to function optimally – especially our immune system, which is then exposed to undue stress. This will in turn affect our blood pressure and even our heart rate. So during these times it’s even more important to avoid some of the modifiable behaviors such as smoking, excessive alcohol use and increased sodium intake.
My granddaughter and I have lingering cold. What can be done?
Hello and sorry to hear you and your granddaughter have been under the weather. The good news is this is typically the pattern of a non-serious viral syndrome. Viruses routinely linger and can feel like they get better, only to have the symptoms return. The best thing to do at this time is to make sure you and your granddaughter are drinking plenty of fluids, and especially getting at least 7 hours of sleep each day, as sleep and the immune system are closely related. Get well soon!
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