I wish everyone a warm and pleasant evening, hopefully with their families, safely at home today.
It has been snowing all day and I am enjoying it this afternoon! We cancelled our appointments and this created time for me to reflect, relax in the solitude of my office and remind everyone about staying well during the cold months ahead. These are some safety and health tips for you during the cold season. Stay well and be safe!
Influenza has been declared to be Widespread and peaking at this time in Pennsylvania by the Department of Health. The H1N1 flu is expected to affect 5-20% of Pennsylvanians. The best means of prevention include frequent hand washing, avoiding exposure and also getting your immunization.
If you are unable to immunize or choose not to there are several supplements that you can use to boost your immunity. Upon exposure to the flu, use of supplements such as elderberry syrup and echinacea can help your body fight viruses. Another supplement which has been helpful at decreasing duration of the flu is the homeopathic remedy Oscillococcinum. These are available at local grocery stores and health food stores.
Increasing vitamin C intake, zinc as well as vitamin D has been shown to improve immune function in various studies. Discuss these and all supplements with your physician.
Cold Weather Woes
Polar vortexes and useasonably cold weather is also challenging on your immune and adrenal systems. Protect yourself when you go outside:
1. Wear multiple layers and keep skin covered. Prevent heat loss by wearing a hat at all times. Use mittens and loose fitting clothing.
2. Avoid extended periods of exposure
3. Be sure that your car windows are fully defrosted and your gas tanks are full.
4. Watch for slippery black ice during low temperatures
5. Be prepared for power outages
6. Be alert for symptoms of hypothermia and frostbite. Symptoms can include slurred speech, sluggishness, confusion, dizziness, shallow breathing, unusual behavior and slow, irregular heartbeat. Frostbite can also occur quickly in extremely low temperatures, symptoms include grey/white or yellow skin discoloration, numbness and a waxy feeling to the skin. Warm the body, but avoid rubbing tender skin. Seek emergency help immediately if these symptoms occur.
7. Keep your pets safe. Follow similar precautions for pets during these extreme weather conditions and do not leave them unattended in a vehicle during that time.
Things to do to decrease allergen exposure in your home:
(Adapted from Institute for Funcitonal Medicine Toolkit)
1. Houseplants- keep them on the dry side to decrease mold growth. Keep them out of the bedroom.
2. Blue jean buttons- if you have nickel sensitivity, apply clear nail polish to the back/skin exposure side of the button.
3. Minimize use of perfumes(they contain Volatile organic compounds)
4. Candles- minimize use
5. Soaps and Detergents- choose ones without phthalates
6. Carpeting- remove it and minimize area rugs- they harbor dustmites and dust allergens
7. Spices- limit the key offenders coriander, poppy seeds, pepper, paprika, cumin and saffron
8. Wall paint- choose low Volatile organic compound paint, such as Harmony brand from Sherwin Williams
9. Beer and alcohol-these products tend to be high in gluten and also high in sulfur dioxide
10. Dry cleaned clothes- find an earth friendly dry cleaner, consider airing out clothes outside
11. Change your HVAC filters with the change of each seaseon
12 Keep pets out of the bedroom
13. Consider a Dairy free and Gluten free diet to decrease overall sensitivity.