On a recent holiday trip to North Carolina to visit family I had the unfortunate fate of contracting the flu. Although the media has been rattling the saber of a very bad flu epidemic this year, it has been a very long time since I have been ill and so I thought myself relatively immune to the grippe. Alas, air travel and holiday stress got the better of me. Upon returning to the clinic post recovery, some patients commented how is was interesting to note that I wasn’t immortal. I have often said that the occasional upper respiratory infection is seemingly unavoidable, so for us mere mortals (myself included) it becomes an issue not whether you get sick, but how quickly you recover.
My recovery was relatively quick thanks to a very cooperative immune system. I helped it along by letting my fever run its course. For two days straight it peaked at 102° followed by another two days teetering at 100°. Although this did not make for a comfortable few days, my illness did not linger into head cold symptoms for more than 24 hours. A lingering weak cough and a little low energy were all that remained one week later. I could have gained a modicum of comfort by taking something to suppress my fever but knew this would only delay my body’s efforts.
Looking back, I made several other observations worth sharing. For one, I ignored my intuition and chose to forgo my regular practice of taking antimicrobial herbs as a preventative measure prior to boarding the plane. I even looked at the bottle as we were packing and thought, “Nah, I’ll be OK.” Of all the times that you could let your guard down, the stress of travel and recycled air of a plane cabin should not be one of them. Lesson learned.
Although I go to great lengths to keep my immune system running, I realize now that there is always more you can do. I still do not endorse the flu vaccine for reasons previously discussed and thus have sought additional preventative strategies for myself and to offer my patients. A recent conversation with a colleague has therefore led me to add a homeopathic remedy to my protocol.
Oscillococcinum is homeopathic flu remedy that can be taken in multiple doses throughout the day to help shorten the duration of an already contracted flu. I was unaware, however, of its use as a preventative remedy. Taking one vial (dose) per week throughout the flu season is an established homeopathic adjunct to the nutritional and herbal remedies previously discussed. As an extra precaution, homeopathy can help prepare your body for the unexpected. Coupled with a strengthened immune system, this approach represents a well-balanced and safe holistic option.
Homeopathy has a fascinating history and an excellent track record treating epidemics. “During a cholera outbreak in Cincinnati in 1849, only 3 percent of homeopathic patients died (35 out of 1,116), compared with the nearly 70 percent of patients who received conventional allopathic treatment. Later, in 1854, the London Homeopathic Hospital had only a 16.4 percent death rate during a cholera epidemic, compared with a 53.2 percent mortality rate for patients treated in conventional hospitals.”1
One final note from my time being down and out with the crud: being ill reminded me how precarious life can be and that sometimes circumstances will get the better of you. Vibrant health and wellness is our birthright; however, we must come to a place of acceptance of our current situation, whether good or bad, while being mindful of the steps we can take to empower ourselves. Then and only then can we be fully prepared to meet the challenges inherent to the human experience.
1. L. Williams, Radical Medicine: cutting-edge natural therapies that treat the root causes of disease (Healing Arts Press, 2011), 410.