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Stop a Cold in its Tracks, The Holistic Way!

When you get sick with cold and flu symptoms, do you think that you need to “kill” something? Immediately you think, I need antibiotics or more Vitamin C.  This line of thinking can actually be detrimental to your health and perhaps even prolong your illness. Believe it or not, your body is smart and will overcome many infectious problems on its own. Unfortunately, sometimes, the more you intervene, the worse you can get.

Stop Reaching For The Antibiotics!

Antibiotics can hurt more than help.  Let me repeat this… Antibiotics can hurt more than help! Antibiotics are strictly used for infections that are caused by bacteria.  The common cold and the flu, while making you feel very lousy, are viral infections and no amount of antibiotics will eradicate these types of infections. The truth is that your immune system needs to fight viral infections on its own. Given the fact that an enormous part of your immune system is made up of microorganisms called bowel flora, it would behoove you to improve your bowel health.  There are actually trillions of various microorganisms in your bowel flora some of them beneficial and some are pathologic. When you take antibiotics you can kill off the beneficial bacteria, and allow the pathologic bacteria to grow out of control.  These pathologic bacteria excrete metabolic byproducts that can amplify inflammatory signals in your immune system and literally destroy your health.  It can take months or even years to repair the damage done to your bowel flora from inappropriate use of antibiotics. Unfortunately, these damaging effects on your bowel flora will be worsened if you eat poorly by consuming fast foods, sugar, and other processed ingredients.

Opt for Local as Opposed to Systemic Treatments 

Mild sinusitis and mild bronchitis are other instances where you probably do not need systemic (oral) antibiotics. Have you ever heard of the saying if your snot is green, you need antibiotics? Well this is not true. Viral infections can manifest with colored sputum and nasal secretions. Antibiotics should be reserved for patients that have severe infections like pneumonia, strep throat or unremitting sinus or bronchial infections.  Outside of these diagnoses, I recommend more natural and local treatments, which can eradicate viral, bacterial and fungal pathogens without adverse systemic immune system effects. Boogey Buster (a nasal spray containing Thyme extract) is one such product which has anti-viral, anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties making it a perfect “all in one” sinus product. Other options include saline rinses, colloidal silver and citrus seed extracts, all of which have anti-viral, anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties.

Beware of OTC “Cold and Flu Remedies”

Cold and flu like symptoms include cough, congestion, runny nose, fever and body aches.  Treating these symptoms with over the counter cold and flu remedies may make you feel better, but in reality these commonly used drugs will not alter the course of your illness.  Most of the cold and flu remedies on the market are a combination of decongestants (reduces swelling of airways and mucus membranes), anti-histamines (reduces production of secretions), mucolytics (reduces the thickness of secretions), cough suppressants (suppresses cough), antipyretics (fever reducer) and analgesics (pain medication).  All of the aforementioned types of drugs have “side effects”. For example, anti-histamines can cause dry mouth, dry nose, agitation, sedation, slow urinary flow, blurred vision and confusion. Decongestants can cause burning, stinging, sneezing, dryness, rebound congestion, high blood pressure and fast heartbeat. Cough suppressants can cause blurred vision, urinary problems, dizziness, nausea, balance problems, slow breathing, nervousness and restlessness. Antipyretics and pain medications including acetaminophen and ibuprofen can cause nausea, vomiting, upset stomach, bloating, gas diarrhea, dizziness, headache, anxiety, rash and ringing in your ears.

Read the Labels!

Aisle 6 in your local pharmacy is responsible for a $3-billion-dollar industry, cold and flu remedies. Marketing strategists have cleverly labeled their over the counter cold medicines in a way to convince you to pick up one product for daytime care, one for nighttime, another for sinuses, and a final one for fevers, aches and pains, all in an effort to get you to spend more money. The critical error is that many times most of these products contain the same ingredients.  If you are not careful, you could be over medicating and could cause severe damage.  It is imperative that you read the labels and ensure you know exactly what and how much and what types of drugs are going into your body.

It’s OK to Have a Fever!

You’re an adult, you have a 102 fever and you feel miserable. The first thing you think of is to reach for the acetaminophen (Tylenol) or Advil, but don’t! If you have fever, you do not have to panic. It just means your immune system is working. Most people think you need to treat your fever with medicine. Bear in mind that a fever is a normal physiologic response to your immune system fighting the offending infection.

Acetaminophen (Tylenol) can injure your liver by depleting your glutathione levels. Glutathione is which is vital component of your antioxidant systems. Ibuprofen can be harmful to your gastrointestinal system and your kidneys.  Consequently, as your immune system is trying to do its job of defending your body by activating various immune responses, if you interrupt this process with anti-pyretics (fever reducers), while you may feel better, you are not doing yourself any favors. A better strategy would be to let the fever “run its course” or simply cool yourself down with external measures like a cool compress or a tepid bath or shower.  

Too Much Vitamin C and Zinc can be a Lethal Combination

Many people take mega doses of Zinc or Vitamin C to remedy colds and flu. Unfortunately, there is little scientific evidence to justify using these nutriceuticals. You must be careful with the combination use of vitamin C and zinc as each of them has a tendency to deplete your copper levels.  Copper is a vital constituent to collagen production and hence connective tissue integrity in your body. Consequently, chronic administration of excess vitamin C and zinc can lead to weakening of your connective tissue and even a lethal aneurysm. 

Chicken Soup Can Boost Immunity

Chicken soup has been used as a folk remedy for infectious ailments for hundreds of years. Real soup made from the bones of a healthy animal can be beneficial to your immune system. Bones contain bone marrow and the bone marrow is where white blood cells are produced. Therefore, homemade soup from organic bones can give your immune system a boost. Unfortunately, canned soup does not confer these same benefits, but instead is filled with artificial ingredients, including flavorings and preservatives.

Your Momma Care

Most colds and other viral infections are self-limited and will “run their course” as long as you have a competent immune system. Therefore, aggressive interventions with pharmaceutical or nutriceutical remedies are rarely of great benefit.  You should see a doctor your symptoms will not go away, continue to worsen or if you have a fever and focal pain (ear pain, throat pain, face pain, chest pain, etc.). Otherwise, consider the guidelines of “your momma care”. You should get plenty of good quality sleep and rest. You should eat healthy homemade foods and avoid processed foods filled with health zapping artificial ingredients. Additionally, fresh air and sunshine are two natural remedies that can help your immune system fight off infectious agents.  Lastly, consume generous portions of Mom’s homemade chicken soup. 

Are you interested in learning more about metabolically directed wellness? We believe in “find the cause, fix the cause” as the only rational approach to giving you a better quality of life moving forward. Contact Dr. Rothman by calling 732-268-7663 to schedule a consultation.

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To learn more about Michael Rothman MD contact us today by giving us a call at (732) 268-7663, emailing us at [email protected] or by requesting an appointment online.

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