Winter viruses, bugs and other seasonal nasties

It's been a while since my last blog post, and in large part that has been due to the very immediate needs of my patients, in particular my child patients, in terms of helping caregivers to manage acute illness. Viral infections are at their peak at the time of seasonal changes, and with so many people also suffering with either SAD, anxiety, depression or other mental illness as well, November can be a challenging time for the whole family. Weather temperatures continue to fluctuate wildly, and bugs are spreading prolifically.

Obviously individual susceptibility plays a huge part; not everyone will be affected in the same way - or even, at all - by whichever cold, cough or other virus happens to be doing the rounds locally, as our immune systems are all unique in terms of both response and strength. We can all help ourselves and our children by ensuring consumption of extra green leafy vegetables, a range of vegetables daily, good quality protein and wholegrains, and minimal sugar and dairy (due to its negative effect on the mucus membranes).

However, if a virus does strike, homeopathic help is at hand, in the form of remedies such as Aconite (especially for sudden onset and the initial stages of most viruses), as well as Pulsatilla, Arsenicum, Nat mur or Kali bich for a runny nose (differentiate between them using the booklet in your remedy kit). Coughs can be trickier, and in fact there is very little that conventional medicine can do to ease viral cough symptoms, but remedies are always worth a try; depending on the presenting symptoms, remedies such as Drosera, Ant tart, Arsenicum, Pulsatilla and Sulphur are good to have at hand. Croup-like and dry/stuck coughs can be more worrying, particularly in children, and it would be best to liase directly with your homeopath to help a croup-y child. I have found that the elderly often suffer with dry coughs that often continue for weeks if left untreated, which can be very debilitating. Ant tart can be very helpful here. For sore throats, ensure the patient is drinking plenty of fluids (i.e. more than they would usually drink), and consider remedies such as Belladonna, Hepar sulph and Nat mur. For vomiting and diarrhoea bugs, the main remedies to consider, again depending on the whole symptom picture, are Ipecac, Nux vomica and Arsenicum, as well as extra fluids as dehydration is the biggest danger from gastrointestinal disorders.

On that cheerful note, I wish you all a healthy, happy winter season.