Colds and Flus and Uh Oh!


Any other year this would be a late date to be writing about the highly infectious respiratory infections going around, and how best to protect your self. This year is different in that we have a group B influenza that is particularly potent among young people, and now the panic-demic coronavirus spreading from China. 

We have influenza every year, and despite widespread efforts to give everyone a 40% chance of protection through vaccination, 10s of thousands of us die from it. Death is always among a dispersed population that is vulnerable for one reason or another. We have a fundamental choice every year, live in fear, pretend influenza doesn’t exist – or do what we can to be healthy and have remedies on standby. 

The coronavirus, while something new to our minds and concern, is not a lot different from influenza in how often it chooses to take someone from this life.  Fatalities seem to be mostly amongst the elderly and those with preexisting respiratory conditions that make them more vulnerable – a lot like influenza.

Here are the basics to protect your self.  Wash your hands before handling food or touching your face. Manage your stress, get good sleep, drink plenty of water, eat good food, not packaged junk, and ditch the sugar. Eat vegetables rich in beta-carotene to keep your vitamin A up. Make sure you have adequate supplemented vitamin D on board. A strong correlation of cold and flu season is that it always happens when we spend the most time indoors. Yes, breathing other people’s air but also not getting much sunlight on our skin.

Take high-quality multivitamins like the ones we recommend at True Health Medicine. Ours are top quality with bioavailable forms of Bs and essential trace minerals.

If you haven’t established care with one of our doctors, now is a good time! We can provide you with a wellness assessment, run some screening labs and get you on the path towards a healthy immune system. We are always ready to help you debug any nagging problems you may already be experiencing from allergies to digestive problems to low energy.

When you get that very first cough or tickle in the throat is when to start herbal remedies that are all at once antiviral, antibacterial and immune-stimulating. My favorite is a tincture of Oregon Grape, Echinacea, Myrrh and Poke mixed up in the office. Gargling and swallowing three times a day can often make it go away! Every two waking hours when you first get sick.

These first-line efforts have by now kept many of my patients from needing annual antibiotics. Most of the seasonal illnesses are viral, but for some they wear down the immune response and then a secondary bacterial infection evolves to the point that it can only be remedied with antibiotics. No one should need antibiotics every year. There is a whole host of reasons why that is a really bad pattern to follow. But if you need them, you need them, and we do prescribe them.

If your seasonal illness drives deeper, you simply must stop and give your body what it needs to fight and recover. Rest, sleep, extra vitamin C, and lots of clear water to keep you hydrated and flushing. We have even more remedies to offer depending on how that sickness evolves – mostly to support your immune system in the battle, and to keep your breathing open and clear. If you develop any breathing problems see a medical professional ASAP. Developing pneumonia is what makes both the coronavirus and influenza dangerous.

If you understand influenza patterns — deadly disease comes calling every single year, with each of us having a 5% annual chance on average of acquiring about of it. Most who do get it recover, but the losses of life add up when you count them across a nation of 330 million. 

We advise that panic doesn’t ever help. Being healthy is the best way to not have to worry. Naturopathic medicine has a big toolbox when it comes to dealing with seasonal illnesses. The tools unique to us fit hand in glove with the heavy guns of antibiotics and hospitalization should worse come to worse. In all cases, people who start out healthy have the best odds of returning to health in short order. 

Don’t worry, be healthy.

You can learn more about my practice at Follow my health
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