Children

The Doctor is In! Your Cold and Flu Questions, Answered

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Ken Redcross, MD, is a board-certified physician in internal medicine.

The sounds of coughing, sneezing, and sniffling are inescapable this time year. It seems everyone you encounter has a cold. And with 15 million people affected by flu already, now is a perfect time to ask Boiron medical advisor Dr. Ken Redcross, a board-certified physician in internal medicine and founder of Redcross Concierge, about what you and your family can do to stay healthy.

Why does my child get so many colds?

It’s completely normal for kids to experience as many as 10 colds per year, mainly because of their close contact with other children in day cares and schools. Germs can linger on surfaces for many hours so kids can pick them up easily from shared toys, playground equipment, tables, and desks. Their little immune systems are still developing, and they cannot fend off the virus as well as us grownups.

What can I do to prevent getting sick?

Good self-care and hygiene are the best ways to stay healthy. First, you want to reduce your exposure to germs, which are spread by droplets from infected people when they sneeze, blow their nose, or wipe their nose or eyes. Try to keep your hands away from your face, don’t rub your eyes, and wash your hands frequently, especially before eating. Also, sleep is one of the best investments you can make for yourself and your health. When we don’t sleep enough, our bodies break down and are much more likely to get sick. Make rest a priority for you and your family this time of year.

What should I do if I get sick?

If you aren’t feeling well, it’s imperative that you take the time to stay home, rest, and recover. Pushing yourself to go to school or work can actually slow down your recovery time, too. It’s also important to identify your symptoms so you know what medicine to take. Fever and body aches will tell you that you’re dealing with the flu. A stuffy nose and sore throat are symptoms associated with a cold. Both illnesses are caused by viruses, so antibiotics won’t work. Over-the-counter homeopathic medicines are a great first line of treatment for common illnesses like these. I recommended taking Oscillococcinum within 48 hours of those early signs of flu, like chills and fatigue. It works to decrease the duration and severity of those flu-like symptoms.* This medicine is even safe for use in children 2 years of age and older, and there’s no drowsiness. Cold symptoms can be relieved with ColdCalm. It’s available in a liquid dose formula for babies 6 months and up, and there’s also meltaway tablets for adults. This medicine can be taken at the onset, established, and resolution stages of a cold and targets all those common symptoms like sneezing, runny nose, and nasal congestion.**

Can I take homeopathic medicines along with conventional medicines?

Homeopathic medicines have no drug-to-drug interactions, so they can be safely taken alongside conventional medicines, dietary supplements, herbs, and other medications.

What medicine can I take if I get sick while pregnant or breastfeeding?

If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, be sure to ask your physician before taking any kind of medicine, including homeopathic medicines.

When should I see a doctor?

If symptoms persist or worsen, or you’re not sure what illness you or your child has, then I would advise seeing your physician or pediatrician.

You can follow Dr. Redcross on Instagram and Twitter. For more helpful tips and information about colds and flu, visit the Oscillo Wellness Center.

*These “Uses” have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.
**Claims based on traditional homeopathic practice, not accepted medical evidence. Not FDA evaluated.

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