The 3 downsides to using cough and cold medicines and what to do instead

Happy New Year my dear readers!

To kick off the year holistically, I'd like to begin challenging the hard stuff. 

Using easily available medications might seem innocuous and harmless once in a while, but think again.  What are we really doing here?  Are we working with or against your body?

As a holistically minded physician, I'm a believer in working with, not against the body.

Here's my take on such drugs whose main purpose is merely to suppress symptoms that are too troublesome for us to accept.

Photo by FotografiaBasica/iStock / Getty Images


The problem lies with our lifestyle expectations, and life on the fast pace.  We no longer have the community's patience towards our own needs.  We also treat ourselves harshly, as a result of others' (and our own) expectations of our bodies and minds.  

Lets get down to the three downsides.

Suppressing symptoms jeopardises recovery

Stopping mucus, and sneezing with antihistamines and decongestants, we impede the body’s natural mechanism to physically wash out germs.  While this is convenient and we can get through the day not even realising we have a cold when we actually have one, this brings in the risk of chronic infection.

Drugs that stop us from washing germs out with mucus fights against the body’s own mechanisms for self cleaning.  The body has to work harder and in more imaginative ways to clear infections.  

In the case of infants and young children, cough medicines can impair their ability to clear phlegm and lead to a worse congestion

The body requires a fever to fight infection

Yes, a certain level of fever is actually good for you.  It has been shown that an important type of immune calls, the T-cells that fight viruses and cancer, require a higher temperature to be effective.  

It is only dangerously high temperatures that need controlling, with a health professional.  

Drugs are foreign substances that may not be removed efficiently from the body.

Yes, this is a reminder that nothing about drugs are natural, and while there is a role for them in a spectrum of care that is offered to the patient, we must know its limitations.  

Drugs invariable tax the liver to metabolise and clear them out of the body.  Many a time, metabolites do not clear out completely.  This is in the case of synthetic hormones, and certainly for paracetamol (acetaminophen).

There have been cases of fatal liver failure associated with ingesting as little as 10 paracetamol pills.

There you have it!

The three reasons why we should think twice before reaching to drugs in order not to face the consequences of being ill.

Being ill is a part of life, especially for children, where it is normal to catch a virus or cold once a month, in order to build up their immune system towards better resistance.  Lack of this natural immune stimulation leads to a skew of the immune cells towards autoimmunity, which is another topic altogether.

The holistic approach to illnesses

While a balanced viewpoint must be kept, and drugs may need to be used in certain situations, having a holistic approach has the long term effect of working with your body not against it, in the long run. 

Herbs or nutrients may be used, complimentary therapies that address the Qi and energy systems, and healing touch, sound, art, and access to the spirit and soul.

What is the meaning of this illness for you? 

Simply waving it off with over the counter medications and "Keeping calm and carrying on" may miss an opportunity to investigate a nutrient deficiency, or even a lifestyle habit which may be causing the low immunity. 

If there is an immunity issue, we must address the reasons underlying that.  

This generation is so used to numbing and carrying on, and it is to the detriment of our spirits that we approach life this way.

To discuss your needs in greater depth do book a consult today!

Do all allergies lead to anaphylaxis?

Allergies

Most allergies result in a mild to moderate reaction such as swelling of lips, face, eyes, hives, itchy skin, tingling mouth, abdominal pain and vomiting. These may not necessarily lead to the severe life threatening type of allergic reaction known as anaphylaxis.

This type of skin rash is classifed as a mild allergic reaction.

This type of skin rash is classifed as a mild allergic reaction.

 

What Is Anaphylaxis?
Anaphylaxis is a sudden, severe allergic reaction. It's a medical emergency.
Most people with allergies never experience anaphylaxis.

 

In anaphylaxis, within minutes or hours of being exposed to your allergy trigger, your body starts a chain reaction that temporarily widens your blood vessels, which can lower your blood pressure. You may pass out. You may get hives and swelling, especially around your face and throat. You may have trouble breathing, talking, or swallowing.

This is an Epipen.  Not an apple, pen, or pineapple pen.

This is an Epipen.  Not an apple, pen, or pineapple pen.

 

An injection of epinephrine can delay symptoms, and if you are concerned about anaphylaxis your GP may be able to source out an single-use injection such as the Epipen for you to have handy in your first aid kit.

It is also a good idea to keep your family, friends and co-workers informed of your allergy if severe, as this may serve you well in an emergency.

In summary, allergies can range from mild, moderate to severe, where it is termed anaphylaxis.

They don't tend to cross from mild to severe but each case is different and anyone who suspects they may have an allergy or those who have already been diagnosed please book in for a tailored treatment plan.