It seems that flu season has well and truly launched itself over the past few weeks, so I wanted to put together some handy tips to help avoid catching it if you can, and also ways to help recover from it quickly if you do develop symptoms.
Make sure to drink plenty of water between meals, approx. 2 litres per day on average- if you find it difficult to drink plain water, try adding fresh mint or lemon slices for flavour….with the added benefit of getting the vitamins from these also!
Reduce processed foods in your diet, they lack nutrients and can often lead to stagnation of the system overall, eat as much fresh foods as possible.
Reduce dairy intake (especially milk and cheese) as these are mucous forming.
Increase the amount of fresh fruits and vegetables in your diet, as well as wholegrains, think also of wholesome homemade chicken soup, a great pick me up if your appetite is lacking. Try to include onion, garlic, ginger in the soup- all are great at treating viral infections.
Take high dose Vitamin C hourly for 4-6 doses when you feel symptoms coming on (ask your health shop for recommended brands)
Remember to keep washing your hands to avoid the spread of germs!!!
And if all else fails and you do develop symptoms, there are many homeopathic remedies that can help, such as:
ACONITE- symptoms come on suddenly, often after exposure to a cold dry wind, patient is chilly, followed by a fever. Sound be given as immediately as symptoms develop. Often tingling and burning in the nose (no discharge as of yet) with a hot dry feeling, and possibly a throbbing headache. All symptoms are better in the open air
ARSENICUM- has think watery discharge from the nose, yet the nose feels blocked up. A dull throbbing headache, with sneezing, and sensitivity to light. Person is chilly and wants to be near the fire all the time, nose burns externally and internally.
ALLIUM CEPA- profuse thin acrid discharge, pain in nose and eyes. Edges of the eyelids burn and the eyes may be red, and sensitive to light. Discharge from the nose is thin and constantly flowing, with much sneezing. This discharge stops in the open air but returns again when entering a warm room
GELSEMIUM- one of the main cold/flu remedies, full feeling in the head, fever and chilliness as if a cold is coming on. Patient is dull and weak, with watery bland discharge from the nose. Lots of sneezing, and patient wants to wrap up warm, and stay close to the fire. Very useful for spring colds, brought on by warm relaxing weather (much like what we have been experiencing lately!)
NUX VOMICA- good for a cold brought on by damp, cold weather, or from sitting on damp cold steps. Lots of sneezing and a stuffed up feeling in the nose, nose feels dry, very little discharge, the eyes water, a feeling of scraping in the throat, and a dull feeling in the sinuses. Symptoms are worse in a warm room, better for open air.
PULSATILLA- thick, yellow/green bland discharge. Feeling of rawness in the nose and throat, and a sensation of wetness in the nose. Usually a loss of smell and taste, better for open air, even though patient is usually chilly.
NATRUM MURIATICUM- watery, transparent discharges, worse for cold air and on extertion. Complete loss of taste. Constant desire to blow the nose, nose feels stuffed up. Dryness within the nose, forming scabs that are difficult to move.
If in doubt, consult a homeopath on the correct remedy for you.
And after all that- remember to use your hot water bottle for comfort, take warm drinks such as lemon/ginger/honey tea, rest as much as possible, preferably in bed and keep your box of tissues handy.
PMS, or Premenstrual Syndrome is the umbrella title given to a wide range of symptoms experienced during the menstrual cycle. These can vary from person to person and can include (but are not limited to) nervousness, irritability, low mood, headache, constipation, nausea, acne, low energy, abdominal pain/cramping, food cravings and hot flushes. While most women will experience mild symptoms at some stage, some can find that it really impacts on their everyday living. Homeopathic remedies can provide huge support and help in these cases.
As always, contact your GP if you experience any symptoms that are out of the ordinary for you and your cycle. A qualified homeopath will provide you with a good constitutional remedy which will help to alleviate your symptoms on a more long term basis, in the meantime, think of the following remedies to use in acute situations.
Generally speaking, its best to take these remedies in low potency (up to 30c), using the appropriate remedy every 15-30 mins for 5-6 doses, lengthening the time between doses as you see an improvement in symptoms. If in doubt, consult your professional homeopath.
Belladonna- for violent bearing down pains, worse for drafts, worse for movement. Better for bending backwards, for bed rest, for standing, for pressure on affected part.
Calc Carb- for nervousness and breast swelling before menses, also for anxiety, headache, depression, vertigo, abdominal or pelvic pain. Worse for cold air and for exertion.
Chamomilla- for irritability, nervousness, restlessness and often pains that are experienced up and down the inner thighs. Very sensitive to pain. Worse at night, aggravated by coffee.
Lachesis- for a feeling of tightness in the throat, uncomfortable in tight clothing, sometimes feeling extreme anger and jealousy, as well as often feeling very irritable. Physical symptoms may include hot flushes, congested feeling in the abdomen, headaches, sleeplessness. Symptoms tend to start on the left and then move to the right. Usually worse in the morning, from heat, or after sleep. Better for fresh air, for pressure, and for cold drinks.
Nat Mur- a common PMS remedy, helpful for emotions that change from sadness to anger, with an overall feeling that she must just keep going, and not allow these emotions to surface. Physical symptoms include headaches, lower back and lower abdomen pain, acne around the hairline. Worse for heat and better for open air.
Pulsatilla- for weepiness, irritable mood and mood swings. Symptoms are worse for warm air/in a warm room or from fatty/rich foods. Symptoms are usually improved for cold, fresh air, and after crying and consolation.
Sepia- for hormone imbalance, indifference to others (especially family), feelings of overwhelm, chilliness, dislike of fuss or damp. Physically, pressure is often felt in the lower abdomen, as if everything would fall out. Worse for consolation, worse in the morning and evening, worse from cold air. Better for warmth, for pressure, for hot applications, for vigorous exercise.
If you’re anything like me, you are probably finding it hard to believe that the summer holidays are almost at an end for another year! We’re trying to pack as much as we can into our last few days before the school routine is back in our lives on Wednesday. While some children look forward to the new school year, many kids can find it a very daunting time, be it that they are starting school for the first time, joining a new school/class or meeting a new teacher.
It is so important to reassure your child that these feelings are normal and that everyone experiences them at different times. Make time to talk to them, and more importantly provide opportunities for them to open up to you, such as chats while driving to activities, while helping you cook/bake or while playing with them.
Following on from this as an additional support, homeopathic remedies are so helpful in easing this anxiety. Homeopathic remedies have no side effects and no contraindications if used as recommended and are safe for both young and old.
Generally speaking, it is best to take these remedies in low potencies (up to 30c), using the appropriate remedy every 15-30 mins for 5-6 doses, lengthening the time between doses as you see an improvement. If in doubt, consult your homeopathic professional for advice.
Remedies for anticipatory anxiety:
Gelsemium 30- for anticipatory anxiety before an event such as a first day, exam, or performance. The child feels that the task ahead of them is too much. (If in doubt and the anticipatory symptoms are hard to define, try Gelsemium first before other homeopathic medicines.)
Aconite 30- for a child who is extremely fearful and restless. They often can’t sit still and can have a scared expression on their faces. This is the main acute remedy for panic attacks with a beating heart, sensation of not being able to get enough air, and feeling faint.
Arsenicum 30- for the child who is restless and insecure with their anxiety. They can feel exhausted from dealing with their anxious emotions.
Argentum Nitricum 30 – for the child who feels very nervous, usually experiencing diarrhoea and flatulence with their anxiety.
Calc Phos 30- the number one medicine to try when your child is reluctant to go to school. They may have headaches and/or tummy aches, denying that anything is wrong, merely that they feel too sick to go to school-often one to think of first for the younger child.
Lycopodium 30- for the child is fearful that they will fail and look foolish in front of others. They often cover this anxiety up by appearing overly confident. This child will usually ‘perform’ very well each time but still have the preceding anxiety.
I’ve been very inspired by the amazing O’Donovan brothers of Skibbereen and their fantastic Olympic achievement. But what of the rest of us, still striving to fulfil our goals?
Everyone who exercises gets the occasional injury.
The first and obvious port of call when this happens is RICE-that is rest, ice, compression and elevation for injuries involving painful swelling.
But in order to aid the healing process, why not consider the following remedies to help you get back in the saddle(boat/field/etc.) again in as quickly as possible?
Homeopathic remedies have no side effects and no contraindications if used as recommended and are safe for both young and old.
Generally speaking, it is best to take these remedies in low potencies (up to 30c), using the appropriate remedy every 15-30 mins for 5-6 doses, lengthening the time between doses as you see an improvement. If your symptoms change then switch remedy and stop the remedy when your symptoms are clearly improved. And it goes without saying that if in doubt, consult your doctor, (you can still use the remedies while waiting to be seen).
Arnica- one of the most commonly used remedies, the first remedy to be thought of following trauma. It helps with bruising, physical injury and also emotional shock. Arnica Cream is great when applied to bruises and sprains to promote healing.
Bryonia- for swollen, painful injuries. These are worse for movement and better for pressure and cold compresses.
Hypericum- Anytime your nerves have been crushed, take this remedy after initially taking Arnica for the shock of this pain. Hypericum is especially effective for shooting nerve pain.
Ledum- is very useful in treating a black eye or any other injury that feels cold to the touch and is relieved by cold applications. (Use Arnica initially and follow with Ledum).
Rhus tox- is great for ligaments/tendons around joints that feel very stiff, for strains and sprains. These injuries are better for continued movement (painful to start, then loosen up) Use it after Arnica.
Ruta-great for deep aching pain from bruises to the lining of the bones (like if you get a blow to your shinbone). Ruta injuries are worse in cold wet weather and from resting, but better with movement and warmth. Again use Ruta after Arnica.
Symphytum- very helpful in knitting broken bones, and can also help where the bone covering has been damaged, e.g. if you get a blow to your eye socket- again use Arnica first, then Symphytum.
Chickenpox is a common childhood illness, especially in kids under age 12. It’s caused by the varicella-zoster virus (VZV), and is very contagious. Kids who get it might have an itchy rash of spots all over the body and flu-like symptoms. An infected child should stay home and rest until the rash is gone.
Chickenpox often starts with a fever, headache, sore throat, or stomachache. These symptoms may last for a few days, with the fever in the 101°-102°F (38.3°-38.8°C) range.
Chickenpox causes a red, itchy skin rash that usually appears first on the abdomen or back and face, and then spreads to almost everywhere else on the body, including the scalp, mouth, arms, legs, and genitals.
The rash begins as multiple small red bumps that look like pimples or insect bites, usually less than a quarter of an inch wide. They appear in crops over 2 to 4 days and develop into thin-walled blisters filled with fluid. The blister walls break, leaving open sores, which finally crust over to become dry, brown scabs. The rash is very itchy, and cool baths or calamine lotion may help to manage the itching.
Young kids tend to have a mild illness with fewer blisters than older children or adults.
In very rare cases, serious bacterial infections involving the skin, lungs, bones, joints, and the brain can happen.
How is it spread?
The chickenpox virus spreads both through the air (by coughing and sneezing) and by direct contact with mucus, saliva (spit), or fluid from the blisters. Chickenpox is contagious from about 2 days before the rash appears until all the blisters are crusted over.
A child with chickenpox should be kept out of school until all blisters have dried, usually about 1 week.
Chickenpox is very contagious — most kids with a sibling who's been infected also will get it (if they haven't already had the disease or the vaccine), showing symptoms about 2 weeks after the first child does. To help keep it from spreading, make sure your kids wash their hands often, particularly before eating and after using the bathroom.
People who haven't had chickenpox or the vaccine also can catch it from someone with shingles, but they cannot catch shingles itself. That's because shingles can only develop from a reactivation of VZV in someone who has previously had chickenpox.
Certain groups of people are more at risk for complications from chickenpox, including pregnant women and anyone with immune system problems. These groups should avoid anyone who has chickenpox.
Chicken pox is caused by a virus and so antibiotics won’t help clear it up, luckily there are a number of homeopathic remedies that will help relieve the symptoms(!) as well as some practical tips listed below:
Use cool wet compresses or give baths in cool or lukewarm water every 3 to 4 hours for the first few days. Porridge in the bath will help calm the skin (put some porridge in a sock and run the bath water through it!)
Pat (don't rub) the body dry
Put calamine lotion on itchy areas (but don't use it on the face, especially near the eyes)
Serve foods that are cold, soft, and bland because chickenpox in the mouth can make drinking or eating difficult. Avoid feeding your child anything highly acidic or especially salty, like orange juice or pretzels.
Never use aspirin to reduce pain or fever in kids with chickenpox because aspirin has been associated with a rare but serious disease, Reye syndrome, which can lead to liver failure and even death.
As much as possible, discourage kids from scratching. This can be difficult for them, so consider putting mittens or socks on your child's hands to prevent scratching during sleep. Also, trim fingernails and keep them clean to help lessen the effects of scratching, including broken blisters and infection.
Most chickenpox infections don't need special medical treatment. But sometimes, there are problems. Call the doctor if your child:
has fever that lasts for more than 4 days or rises above 102°F (38.8°C)
has a severe cough or trouble breathing
has an area of rash that leaks pus (thick, yellowish fluid) or becomes red, warm, swollen, or sore
has a severe headache
is unusually drowsy or has trouble waking up
has trouble looking at bright lights
has difficulty walking
seems very ill or is vomiting
has a stiff neck
Call your doctor if you think your child has chickenpox and you have a question or are concerned about a possible complication. The doctor can guide you in watching for complications and in choosing medicine to ease itching.
If you take your child to the doctor, let the office know in advance that your child might have chickenpox. It's important to try to avoid exposing other kids in the office — for some of them, a chickenpox infection could cause severe complications.