2003-02-22 / Columnists

Health & Harmony

By Dr. Nancy Gahles

Health & Harmony

By Dr. Nancy Gahles

The old adage, "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure" remains true, especially when it comes to preventing or treating flu.It is much easier on all concerned to prevent infections rather than to cure them. Duration and intensity of suffering is much less. Let good common sense prevail. Get plenty of rest. Sleep is extremely important. At least 9 hours is recommended. Drink lots of liquids. Hydration is key, especially in the dry, heated winter environments when mucous membranes tend to dry out and become more susceptible to infection. Water, water, water. Eat whole, nutritious foods. Soups are especially good in the winter. Eat plenty of vitamin C rich foods, i.e., fruits and vegetables. Exercise in the fresh air whenever possible. Develop a personal yoga practice that suits you. Yoga stimulates the immune system and decreases stress and fatigue while increasing a sense of well being. I give classes in yoga weekly. Feel free to contact me.Emotional considerations need to be addressed as far as susceptibilities to illness are concerned. Stress depletes the immune system. Know your child. Know what triggers his/her emotio ns. Anticipatory anxiety regarding new situations; beginning a new semester; transitioning to a new class; expectations of achievement (yours and theirs); maintaining constant performance and meeting demands of schoolwork; social/peer pressures; perfectionism; test anxiety are some issues that cause a child to get "sick". Other children become sick when there are domestic tensions; parent’s stress; marital discord; parent’s traveling frequently; grief issues where there is loss of a family member or a pet; sibling rivalry or lack of attention (real or perceived).HOMEOPATHIC REMEDIES FOR THE FLU: Homeopathic remedies are safe and effective for use during the flu or for prevention of the flu. It is always wise to consult you own physician first to rule out any serious medical condition. It is also wise to have a Certified Homeopath of your own with whom you can consult at the onset of symptoms. At the first sign of the flu, Boiron’s over the counter remedy is very useful at the first sign of the flu or when you have no symptoms but have been exposed to the flu.If you always tend to get the flu, even if you’ve been immunized, the homeopathic remedy, Influzenium can be used as a preventative. "Many homeopathic pharmacies make it fresh each year from that year’s flu vaccine. Some homeopaths swear by it – finding it more effective than the conventional flu shot, without the side effects. Ms. Castro is presently Editorial Consultant to the popular magazine HOMEOPATHY TODAY. It is a very readable, consumer friendly publication and I recommend it highly. Several other remedies will help if taken at the onset of the flu. Miranda Castro wrote a beautiful article in the December 2002 issue of HOMEOPATHY TODAY called "Oh, Fluey!" The following are her recommendations: ACONITE will help if taken in the first few hours of a fast developing flu that comes on after getting chilled in a cold wind. You can take Aconite when you know you are getting sick, have started to sneeze and develop a fever, but before you have a clearly identifiable symptom picture. FERRUM PHOSPHORICUM is the remedy to take after Aconite hasn’t helped and a fever has developed but you have no other symptoms yet.ARSENICUM ALBUM is for flu with great prostration in chilly, irritable, anxious, and fussy types. The eyes stream with watery, acrid discharges. Fevers are accompanied by extreme chilliness and a thirst for frequent sips of warm drinks. Everything is better for warmth except the headache, which is worse for heat and better for fresh air.BAPTISIA is for terrible flus that come on suddenly. People feel sore and bruised all over, and the body and limbs feel as if they are "scattered and all in bits." There’s profuse sweating with a high fever and intense thirst. The face is a dull red color and people who need this remedy look "stuporous"- dazed and sluggish to the point of falling asleep while they are talking to someone. This remedy is for gastric flu with vomiting and diarrhea.BRYONIA is for flu that come on slowly. These people ache all over, especially in the joints, and the aching pains are much worse for motion, even the smallest movement; so these people lie completely still in their beds. They are extremely irritable and want to be left alone. They have a particular thirst for large quantities of cold drinks, but at infrequent intervals (because of all the movements involved in drinking!) They have a dry, painful cough which makes their heads hurt.EUPATORIUM PERFOLIATUM is for the most dreaded flu. The pains are so severe that it feels as if all the bones are broken. The muscles ache and feel sore and bruised as well. These people moan and groan with the pains. Everything hurts; there is a bursting headache and sore, aching eyeballs. The nose runs with much sneezing; the chest feels sore and raw, and coughing makes the head hurt. They want ice water in spite of the fact that it brings on chills that start in the small of the back. They don’t sweat much but when they do, they feel better all over (except for the head). GELSEMIUM is for flu that come on when the weather changes from cold to warm. It is for the commonest of flus that come on slowly and are accompanied by weak, aching muscles. There is a dull headache and a great feeling of heaviness…everywhere, especially the eye-lids, head and limbs. These people are thirstless even with the fever, which alternates with chills and shivers that run up and down the spine. They are apathetic, dull and drowsy. For questions on this article or any other health issue contact Dr. Gahles at askDr nancy@aol.com.

May The Blessings Be!


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