Is it a Cold or Flu and What Do I Do?

‘Tis the season we hear sniff, sniff, a-a-choo! Just “hoping” we don’t catch a cold or the flu isn’t going help. Taking precautions may work, but if not, here are some ideas to feel better soon.

Willing it Away

If you truly don’t want to catch the bugs floating around this time of year, there are several precautions you can take. Here are some non-medicinal strategies you can use to keep the sick away:

1) Sleep. When you get tired, take a nap, or go to sleep. If you absolutely cannot, then breathe, get done what you must, and then get thee to a bed. Do not pump up on coffee or other caffeine. That will falsely revive you and weaken your immune system.

2) Stay calm. It’s the time of year when stress builds; it could be the foreboding holiday worries, finances, kids and school, etc. When you feel yourself stressing out, remind yourself to shake it off. Do you want to get sick? No? Good. Then breath, smile, take a bath, hug someone you love. Do nice things for yourself.

3) Drink lots of water and other non-sugary beverages. Keep flushing out. Stay hydrated.

4) Wash your hands with soap and water several times a day. Germs are everywhere. You can seriously avoid getting infected if you wash them away before they get you.

5) Eat fresh foods high in vitamins A, B, and C and zinc. Take supplements if you’re feeling especially vulnerable.

Calm The Mind
Calm The Mind

A Small Defeat

Let’s say you tried everything listed above, but you still got sick. Oh, well. You did your best. If you’ve been healthy, this setback shouldn’t put you down for too long.

Is it a Cold?

If it starts with fatigue, a scratchy or sore throat, and/or a headache, it’s probably a cold—especially if it comes on gradually. With a cold, you shouldn’t get feverish (unless it develops into a sinus infection or something else bacterial.) Just a stuffy nose, coughing, and some crankiness, but not enough to keep you in bed.

Is it the Flu?

Usually, the flu hits quickly and knocks you out of commission. Here’s a list of what you might experience: headache, fever, nausea, dizziness, fatigue, vomiting and/or diarrhea.

Influenza (“the flu”) and a cold are both viral. There is no cure. Antibiotics will not work. Go back and examine the prevention list and those will help your body overcome the virus more quickly.

Some doctors may prescribe an antiviral medicine for the flu. But a cold you’ll have to suffer through too. Over-the-counter remedies are simply to aid with symptoms.

Another Form of Cure

Some people swear by essential oils. Essential oils are extracts from plants and flowers, making them a purely natural wellness entity. If used properly, essential oils can be safe. They can provide balance and promote the body’s restoration from illness.

Essential oils can be smelled, rubbed onto the skin, or ingested. Essential oils should be diluted with water or a carrier oil like jojoba or almond. Applying a small amount of diluted oils onto your skin permeate the cell walls to deliver nutrition and remove waste. (But don’t rub potent oils on children’s skin.)

Rosemary Essential Oil
Rosemary Essential Oil

Ingesting essential oils should only be done with precaution. A couple of drops into some foods or drinks are perfectly acceptable, for adults. For both kids and grown-ups you can try:

1) Black Elderberry. Said to improve flu symptoms in two days.

2) Echinacea. For general immunity strengthening.

3) Chamomile. A calming herb with anti-inflammatory properties.

4) Ginger. Has a long history of use in alleviating nausea and vomiting.


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Is There An Antibiotic To The Rescue?

Is there any new drug that can save us from the current status of resistant antibiotics? Most are scared and feeling hopeless. Some, however, believe perhaps so—maybe there’s a “miracle” cure?

It’s been a while since doctors and scientists warned us about the perils of misusing antibiotics. Because of overprescribing and administering drugs improperly, some bacteria have become resistant to antibiotic use. This trend has created the more-than-often, invincible, Superbug.

The Superbug is Super Bad

Bacteria can change form and mutate. And that’s exactly what has happened in our public health arena. The antibiotics we once used to kill off infection now do not have the ability to fight of the Superbug.

What’s a Superbug? Basically, it’s a bacteria that can’t be killed even using multiple antibiotics. Each year, at least two million people experience an infection that cannot be cured. Of those stricken, approximately 25,000 die. FYI, any bacteria, in theory, and unfortunately in reality, can turn into a Superbug. The most common is MRSA (both community and hospital acquired.)

Another FYI: You can get a non-curable bacterial infection from a paper-cut. This is not a “disease” caught from risk-taking action in foreign lands. You can get a drug-resistant bacterial infection in your dentist’s office, at your local gym, or from a door handle.

This is a serious problem. If we think back to times before antibiotics were developed, people commonly lost limbs, organs, and lives to bacterial infections. Penicillin was discovered in 1929, but it really wasn’t until the 1940s that this type of medication was available and administered.

Now we have a situation where researchers and health experts are scrambling to keep up with an antibiotic that is as powerful as today’s Superbug. Back in the 1970s, this happened with penicillin—strep pneumonia and many venereal diseases became resistant. Then in 1999, a new class of antibiotics called Oxazolidinones, were invented. But these, too, have lost their effectiveness against certain bacteria.

A New Discovery That May Be Super Good

Often, the pharmaceutical industry will take an existing antibiotic and reformulate it to keep up with the bacterial mutations. This is what scientists are now doing with vancomycin. The Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, California has modified vancomycin to boost its potency. Their newest study is the third modification that’s been made to that drug.

The lead scientist, Dr. Roger Boger believes the newest formation of vancomycin offers a dramatic increase in effectiveness. It’s currently being used to treat the most powerful bacterial infections and seems to be working. It’s one of the only medications giving MRSA (Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureu) a run for its money.

In layman’s terms, MRSA is basically a Staph infection that you can get anywhere, and won’t go away—at all. This updated formulation of vancomycin may just be the help doctors and patients have been seeking.

Take Nothing, Especially Antibiotics, For Granted

Just because this new study presents great news on the fight against the bacterial infection front right now, doesn’t mean it solves a larger problem. Infectious organisms are ever-changing, which means we continually have to keep a step ahead. Scientists will always need to discover new agents, as well as reformulate and update old ones.

It’s a continuous journey for infectious disease researchers. If they take a break, or rely on antibiotics as they stand currently, it will mean that the bacteria will mutate and out-run us. This will occur especially because of unfortunate ongoing practices by certain doctors and patients.

Here are some steps to take to help keep you, your family, and the public healthy from incurable infections:

  • Take your medicine as prescribed. Take the full course of antibiotics even if you’re feeling better halfway through.
  • Do not take antibiotics for a virus. They will not work. They will also lower your resistance in the future when you actually need antibiotics for a bacterial infection.
  • Don’t force your doctor to give you antibiotics if he/she doesn’t recommend them.
  • Don’t use leftover antibiotics from a course from a previous infection
  • Practice clean living habits such as: eating healthy, sleeping well, exercising, and being hygienic.

Smart use of antibiotics and mindful living are key factors in controlling the spread of drug resistance. It’s hopeful when we hear news of treatments that can conquer “untreatable” conditions. Doing our part, can only help keep that hope alive and thriving. Check out for other pertinent articles on today’s health concerns and benefits.



Get A Wiff of This Superbug Killer

Scientists may be on an antibiotic that can defeat the superbug—and the bacteria to formulate the drug is in your nose!

Don’t Get a Tissue

Antibiotics that currently exist are increasingly becoming less effective. Many bacteria and bugs have become drug-resistant. Hence, the creation of the superbug—illnesses we cannot fight naturally or with modern medicines. Researchers in Germany, however, have discovered a bacteria that lives in the human nose, which may help revolutionize antibiotics.

Smell’s Good

The bacteria found in people’s noses is called Staphylococcus lugdunin NSIS. That particular strain produces a chemical called lugdunin. Lugdunin can fight off other strong bacteria. Additionally, lugdunin doesn’t appear to be prone to developing resistance.

Antibiotic-resistant bugs are becoming an enormous problem for doctors and their patients. Drugs that used to be able to kill common bacteria are no longer active. We’ve had to develop stronger antibiotic strains, but. Unfortunately, the bugs seem to be getting stronger.

Serious Stuff

The findings from this research are enormously valuable at this time. We need newer and more powerful antibiotics, but there aren’t many options. Development of drugs is slow and perhaps not funded as well as it should be. The need for a medicine that can take on the superbug is crucial.

Currently, MRSA (the superbug) can be deadly. MRSA stands for Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus. It used to be that an ordinary Staph infection was treated simply and more efficiently. Now, it’s possible, that if you develop a Staph infection, especially a hospital-acquired one, it can be life-threatening.

Around the world, approximately 700,000 people die each year from a superbug. Without a line of defense in antibiotics, it is expected that death tolls will rise exponentially. Superbugs, without a fight, will cause more deaths than cancer—possibly by the next decade.

Where There’s Hope…

We may find a solution—hopefully, sooner than later. Using the human body as a new place to mine for microbes is a brilliant idea. Our microbiota could conceivably provide a source to invent and develop a medicinal army to fight against pathogens.

The director of the World Health Organization explains that these drug-resistant pathogens travel quickly across the globe. Perhaps if we paid more attention to food trade and transportation, we could slow the spread.

In the meanwhile, there are ways that humans can help keep more pathogens from becoming drug-resistant. We can be mindful of our antibiotic use. If we are stricken with a virus, such as the flu, an antibiotic is useless. Taking less than the full amount prescribed can also cause a future immunity to the drug. Keep in mind, too that many of the animal products we eat have been given antibiotics.

The bottom line is that it is time to take action. We do not want society to revert to the days before antibiotics were invented. That may happen if we let the superbug grow.

Water Alert: How to Avoid Swimming Illnesses

Water play can be the best part of summer activity. Swimming illnesses, however, can easily be contracted without taking certain safety precautions. In order to stay healthy and make the most of your leisure time, here are a few tips.

Checking out The Surf

If you’re going to be swimming in the ocean, many lifeguard stands have postings of water temperature and quality. Unfortunately, the water at some beaches is horribly polluted and can cause illness if ingested or enters a wound. If you’re concerned, you can always check out water quality and associated health questions at:

Swimming pools should have a functioning filtering system. Avoid going into a pool where showering is not mandatory before entering. Chlorine in the water kills most germs in less than an hour. Some types of germs, however, take hours or days to kill, even in properly disinfected pools.  By the way, salt-water pools have chlorine too, so that’s helpful.

Swimming Illnesses

Specific types of illnesses can be contracted from germs in a body of water. They can enter through your mouth when you accidentally swallow the water. They can enter your bloodstream if the germs come in contact with an open wound. Your nose and ears are also susceptible to bacterial infection.

Recreational Water Illnesses (RWI) can cause gastrointestinal, respiratory, skin, and even neurologic infections. Probably the most common is Swimmer’s Ear. Swimmer’s ear occurs when water gets trapped in the ear canal. It’s an infection that can be bacterial or fungal.

You’ll know if your child gets an ear infection from swimming because his ear will hurt to touch it. The outside hurts, whereas a regular, non-water based infection usually hurts inside more. Hearing may decrease, and there may be a yellowish pus discharge.

How to Avoid…

Healthy swimming habits such as practicing good hygiene can keep illnesses at bay. If everyone washed his/her hands with soap and water after using the restroom, it would help tremendously. Also, anyone with diarrhea should not use a pool until they are well again.

Swimmer’s ear can be avoided by drying out your ears afterward being in the water. A towel or the corner of a washcloth can be used. Even a hairdryer pointed towards the ear, from about a foot away, can help. Cotton swabs should never be used to dry the ear canal because there’s danger of damaging your eardrum.

If you or your child develops a swimming illness like an earache, the doctor may prescribe antibiotic or antifungal drops. Keep the ear canal as dry as possible until the condition is cleared up. This may mean staying out of the lake, pool, ocean, or even bathtub for a few days.

Try not to let fear guide you. Being forewarned and taking precautions should enable you and your children to enjoy swimming to the max! For more short-reads and tips on keeping your family healthy and safe, check out