Sunday, 17th December 2017
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With Breda Gardner Homeopath, lcph, mcos, rgn

Health Therapies Clinic

13 Gladstone Street, Waterford.

Tel: 087 2025753.

Insight Natural Health Clinic

15 Upper Patrick St, Kilkenny

Tel: 056 7724429

Colds & Influenza

There seems to have been an outbreak of the sniffles recently, and a number of people have asked if I have any advice on colds and influenza. The first thing to note is that there is a difference between the two. A cold is defined as "an infection in which the mucous membrane of the nose and throat becomes inflamed, causing a runny nose, sneezing, sore throat etc", whereas influenza is "a highly contagious virus infection causing fever, severe aching, and catarrh, often occurring in epidemics."

In my experience, catching a cold once or twice a year is actually no bad thing: it helps to clean out the system. So if you catch a cold, do not be afraid to let it take its course. Many colds are viral in nature (ie are NOT caused by a bacterial infection), so taking antibiotics can be counter-productive: the antibiotics suppress the vital force and kill off the friendly bacteria that aid digestion. Babies are particularly susceptible to this because they have to build up immunity to many viruses, and taking antibiotics can weaken their immune system (remember that breastfeeding gives babies a degree of protection). Remember also that antibiotics only work on bacterial infections: they do not work on viral, fungal or parasitic infections, so they won't have any effect at all if you have a dose of the 'flu.

Children often get cold after cold when they first start nursery or playschool, constantly coming into contact with many different strains of viruses. If you or your child repeatedly suffer from colds, I would recommend you consult a professional homeopath for advice on how to build up the immune system. There are several different homeopathic remedies that can help with colds and influenza, but which one is most appropriate depends on the symptoms, which is why I always recommend an appointment. It is also important to rest when you have a cold or 'flu.

Here is some other general advice for dealing with colds and influenza:

- Make sure the patient is not exposed to extreme changes of temperature, and avoid going out if it is very cold or windy (wear a hat if you do go out).

- Encourage as much rest and sleep as possible

- Keep warm and not chilled

- Avoid mucus-forming foods as far as possible: these include cow's milk and dairy products in general

- Take garlic and onion soup to cleanse the blood.

- Tilt the head of your mattress up by putting one or two pillows underneath it. This encourages mucus to drain from the nose

- Keep the diet as light as possible, and keep liquid intake (ie of water) high, especially if the patient has a high temperature.

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