According to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control), and quite a bit of media coverage lately, influenza activity is widespread this winter. This particular virus has been reported in at least 47 states in the US and over 11 provinces and territories in Canada. New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo declared a public health emergency this past Saturday and many cities are following suit. The height of flu season for the Northeast traditionally occurs in February, so we might still have a little way to go. Patients often report that their initial symptom is either a sore throat or a cough. Some colds can be very severe and hard to differentiate from the flu. To that end, I thought I’d share some of my stay-well tips with you.
I cannot stress the importance of hand washing enough – it is such an important means to prevent the spread of illness. It will take about 20 seconds of your time to be effective, but it’s well worth the effort. It can dry your skin, but our Sea Buckthorn Hand Cream always comes to my rescue. Hand sanitizers can be useful for people on the go, but they are even more drying than hand washing.
It’s also important to get sufficient amounts of rest, as well as adequate hydration, which helps flush out toxins. Try to stick with the usual recommendation of eight glasses of water per day, and mix in some green tea for added antioxidants. I like to take a probiotic, because our intestinal tract is our first line of defense when it comes to dealing with pesky germs.
Lastly, it is important to exercise and work up a sweat. In addition to post-holiday weight loss, an added benefit is that it gets the lymphatic system going. A brisk walk will do very nicely, and maybe you’d even like to try a hot yoga class? It will really help to sweat out those toxins.
In case I come in contact with people who are sick (not uncommon for a pharmacist), I might take a few doses of Echinadoron to naturally support my immune system. It contains organic echinacea, calendula and chamomile.
Often, I get asked what to do once you do get sick. A helpful home remedy for the earlier mentioned sore throat is gargling with lukewarm salt water. Homeopathic remedies gently support the body’s own healing forces, and for cold/flu symptoms, our homeopathic remedy Ferrum Phosphoricum 6X is very useful.
This time of the year is a busy one for our Compounding Pharmacy! Eucalyptus Archangelica ointment frequently gets prescribed to both children and adults. You apply it to the chest and back for chest congestion and coughs, and it can even provide some relief for runny noses with the scent of eucalyptus, thyme and rosemary. Keep in mind that influenza can be dangerous and should be treated by a physician, as it can potentially lead to dehydration and pneumonia.