natural-ways-to-handle-your-cold

Natural Ways to Beat Your Cold

With the help of homeopathic remedies, you just might feel a lot better this cold season, says Polina Karmazin, MD, Director of the Virtua Center for Integrative Medicine.

There are three key ways in which she helps her patients tackle the common cold:

Prevention

“It’s extremely important to be vigilant during cold season,” says Dr. Karmazin. “Prevention really is the name of the game.”

  • Take notice of who’s around you; how are they looking and feeling?
  • Wash your hands frequently.
  • Keep your distance as much as possible.

“Even though it sounds harsh, try to avoid a lot of hugging and kissing,” says Dr. Karmazin.

Upon Exposure

You can also take homeopathic remedies (small doses of plant- or mineral-based substances) to boost your immune system, making it less likely that you’ll become ill even if the cold virus does enter your body.

“If you know you’ve been exposed to someone who’s sick, there are remedies you can take right away, or even every day during the course of that exposure, to protect you from catching a cold.”

Those same remedies are a great go-to before events where you know you’re likely to come into contact with sick people. Fall and winter holidays come with lots of parties, mall shopping, air travel -- lots of exposure, says Dr. Karmazin. “For my patients, I tend to recommend taking a homeopathic remedy as a protective measure several times a week during the active cold and flu season.”

Once You’re Sick

The first 24 hours are crucial, says Dr. Karmazin, but you should aim for even sooner for best results: “If you start to feel ill at work, for example, better not to wait until you get home. Keep these remedies in your purse or briefcase so you can take them as soon as you recognize the first symptoms.”

Another option is biopuncture, a procedure Dr. Karmazin performs in her office wherein a homeopathic remedy is injected directly into an acupuncture point with a tiny needle. In order to act quickly, you need to practice “listening” to your body’s cues. “If you start taking a remedy the minute you think you’re getting sick, there’s a really good chance you won’t get sick at all,” says Dr. Karmazin.

Homeopathic remedies that can be taken orally are widely available at health food stores, and have no side effects, unlike many conventional over-the-counter cold medicines. Talk to your integrative medicine physician about which ones are likely to work best for you. 

Updated June 9, 2016

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