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  • Health Matters is a new blog series from our members in the Health and Wellness industry. Please enjoy these great tips and insight to staying healthy and well. For more information on any of these topics we encourage you to reach out to these members.

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  • By: Dr. Mark Turshen of Direct Doctors


    As summer vacation ends, the school year begins and we go back to work consistently, one thing is certain... cold season is coming! For both adults and children alike, this can be a frustrating illness to deal with, often multiple times over the course of the year. 

    Western medicine teaches us to rest, stay hydrated, and wait!  There are not a lot of pharmaceutical medications that can truly make you feel much better when you have a virus, so as doctors we often recommend none.  As patients, we get frustrated that nothing seems to speed that healing process along! 

    So, we did some research into complimentary and alternative medicine options for healing that nasty cold.

    • REST: this one is tried and true.  Don't work too hard, don't stress too much - relax (if you can!).
    • EAT WELL: fresh fruits and vegetables have tons of virus-fighting phytochemicals so focus your diet on these while recovering.  Garlic and onions both pack powerful anti-viral properties.  Sugars and white flours should be avoided (now and always!).  
    • STAY HYDRATED: there is a reason your grandmother made you tea - lots of water is great for boosting your body's health.  Herbal teas with horehound, slippery elm, or marshmallow such as Throat-Coat can be helpful.
    • BODY-MIND INTEGRATION: Yoga, Meditation, Thai Chi - now is a good time to boost your energy with whichever is your go-to!  
    • NASAL SALINE: irrigate those nasal cavities and wash away the mucus with a saline spray or netty pot. This really helps a stuffy nose, allows for better breathing and better sleep! (see item 1)
    • VITAMIN C: 500mg 2-4 times each day may help boost your immune system defenses (half the dose for kids 2-12 years old).
    • ZINC: lozenges with zinc may ward off viral infections and help you heal - but don't use for more than 5 days.
    • HONEY: there is actually good evidence that a single dose of honey before bedtime can diminish cough and the discomfort experienced by children and their parents. Remember, local honey is better and not for children under 1 year old.  
    • ECHINACEA: this can be preventative or help when you're sick - take 1-2 tablespoons of something like Echinaforce (check out your local health food store for options). Although research still does not show great effect, many local herbalists recommend this and many patients swear by it!  Don't take for more than 1-2 weeks or if you have a severe illness, talk to your doctor first.
    • UMCKALOABO (Pelargonium sidoides - South African geranium) has some scientific support for reducing cough. One brand is EPs 7630® solution (Schwabe GmBh, Germany).  Adults: Thirty drops (4.5mL total split over three doses) for 7-14 days. (Cut the dose and length of time in half for kids). Avoid if you have a history of angioedema, blood disorders or are on blood thinners and ask your doctor first if you have asthma, liver or heart problems.  


    Stay well rested and hydrated, practice good hand hygiene, try the remedies above and well all else fails... see your great family medicine doc!