If you’re feeling this way, and trust me I can relate, may I make a suggestion? STOP!
That’s right, I mean you Mom running around trying to get all the errands done before school lets out. That means you too Dad, organizing the kids for hockey while also trying to help the others finish their homework. Whatever your family’s particular rhythm, just STOP for a second.
So many of us fall into the trap of the routine. Routines help us function in our everyday life. If we had to make a new decision about everything, everyday we’d go crazy. However, when we fall into the trap of routine, then time can fly by without us noticing it and we miss being present in the moment. For anyone who practices mindfulness, or has read some Buddhist philosophy, you will know how important it is to be in the moment.
KEEP ON GROWING! If I can help you with this or any other aspect of your health you’re looking to improve, you know where to find me ;)
Dealing with Allergies Naturally
In the US:
· Number of people in the U.S. who have either allergy or asthma symptoms: 1 in 5.
· Percentage of the U.S. population that tests positive to one or more allergens: 55%.
The prevalence of asthma in different countries varies widely, but the disparity is narrowing due to rising prevalence in low and middle income countries and plateauing in high income countries.
Suffering from allergies can be a very irritating experience. If you or your child is suffering from allergies, it is best to take them to a Naturopathic Doctor who can perform a proper assessment and form a treatment plan that will address your/your child’s needs. Always speak to your health care provider before beginning any new medications or supplements.
Allergy Statistics and Facts. WebMD. Reviewed by Johnson, K. (2012). http://www.webmd.com/allergies/allergy-statistics
Asthma Statistics. American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology. http://www.aaaai.org/about-the-aaaai/newsroom/asthma-statistics.aspx
Romm, A. 2003. Naturally Healthy Babies and Children: A Commonsense Guide to Herbal Remedies, Nutrition, and Health. Celestial Arts.
Skowron, JM. 2009. Fundamentals of Naturopathic Pediatrics. CCNM Press. Print.
Boost Your Immunity Naturally
Cold and Flu season stats
To start, there are over 200 different viruses cause influenza and influenza-like illness (fever, headaches, aches and pains, coughs, runny nose). According to a recent Cochrane review, the flu vaccine might only be effective against Influenza A and B, which represents about 10% of all circulating viruses (Jefferson et al, 2013). The authors’ conclusion from that review was, “Influenza vaccines have a modest effect in reducing influenza symptoms and working days lost. There is no evidence that they affect complications, such as pneumonia, or transmission.” (Jefferson et al., 2013).
Period of Contagiousness
You may be able to pass on the flu to someone else before you know you are sick, as well as while you are sick. Most healthy adults may be able to infect others beginning 1 day before symptoms develop and up to 5 to 7 days after becoming sick. Some people, especially young children and people with weakened immune systems, might be able to infect others for an even longer time.
How Flu Spreads
Most experts believe that flu viruses spread mainly by droplets made when people with the flu cough, sneeze or talk. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby. Less often, a person might also get flu by touching a surface or object that has flu virus on it and then touching their own mouth, eyes or possibly their nose.
Additional Helpful Measures
Think drinking tea is just for your grandma? Well think again!
In a Harvard study, they found that people who drank 5 cups a day of black tea for 2 weeks had 10 times more virus-fighting interferon in their blood than others who drank a placebo hot drink. The amino acid responsible for this immune boost, L-theanine, is abundant in both black and green tea—decaf versions have it, too.
Your optimal dose: Several cups daily. To get up to five times more antioxidants from your tea bags, bob them up and down while you brew.
Infusion vs. Decoction
An infusion is a water-based preparation made by steeping leaves, flowers, and other non-woody parts of a plant in either hot or cold water. The traditional cup of herb tea is the archetypal infusion.
A decoction is also water based, but it’s done by gently simmering the herb in boiling water. This method is used for tougher plant parts, such as roots, barks and seeds.
Powders: What are they good for?
Usually when people think of tea they think of the leaves and flowers of the plant in a cup of hot water. However, there are certain herbs that are better made into an infusion using the powdered form. For example, some herbs are rich in volatile oils that are medicinally useful and when boiled will evaporate and be lost. Valerian root is an example of a woody part that would be better ground to powder and prepared as an infusion. The preparation method usually depends on the use of the herb. This is why it is important to consult with a trained practitioner because they can help you select the most appropriate herb and preparation method based on your particular health concerns.
Note: This presentation is not meant to replace the advice of a trained practitioner. In order to formulate a proper treatment plan, you should consult with your Naturopathic Doctor or other health care provider.
Center for Disease Control and Prevention. (2013). Seasonal Influenza: Key Facts about Influenza (Flu) & Flu Vaccine. http://www.cdc.gov/flu/keyfacts.htm
Hoffmann, D. (2003). Medical Herbalism: The Formulation and Preparation of Herbal Medicines. Healing Arts Press. Print.
Jefferson et al. (2013). Vaccines to prevent influenza in health adults. http://summaries.cochrane.org/CD001269/vaccines-to-prevent-influenza-in-healthy-adults.
Ontario Association of Naturopathic Doctors. (2013). Staying Healthy in Cold and Flu Season. http://www.oand.org/staying-healthy-in-cold-and-flu-season/
Public Health Agency of Canada. (Nov 2, 2013). Flu Watch: Influenza/ILI Activity (geographic spread). http://www.phac-aspc.gc.ca/fluwatch/13-14/w44_13/pdf/fw2013-44-eng.pdf
Then there’s the issue of the various claims that sunscreen manufacturers make about their products. Based on the research that’s been completed to date, there is insufficient data to support most claims on the sunscreen bottle. Claims such as: ‘waterproof’, ‘sweatproof’ and ‘broad spectrum protection’ don’t hold up. In fact, probably the most misleading is ‘cancer protection’ or ‘prevents cancer’. Sunscreen alone has not actually been shown to protect against certain forms of skin cancer, particularly melanoma, which is the most deadly form of skin cancer.
Melanoma and Other Skin Cancers
Why should we be concerned about melanoma? Well, since 2000, the rates of new melanoma cases among both men and women have been climbing by 1.4 to 1.6 percent per year (CDC 2014). A number of studies conducted in the 1990s reported higher incidence of melanoma among frequent sunscreen users (Autier 1998, Beitner 1990, Westerdahl 2000, Wolf 1998).
SPF: Is Bigger Better?
Does SPF or the Sun Protection Factor make a difference? Most of us believe that Bigger Is Better, but there is no definitive evidence of increasing protection as the SPF values increase. In fact, beyond SPF 50, there appears to be little benefit. Properly applied SPF 50 blocks approximately 98% of sunburn rays. Properly applied SPF 100 blocks 99%. When used correctly, sunscreen with SPF values in the range of 30 to 50 will offer adequate sunburn protection, even for people most sensitive to sunburns.
Oxybenezone and 4-MBC are hormone disruptors and frequently used UV filters used in sunscreens. Oxybenzone could be found in about 70% of the non-mineral sunscreens evaluated by the EWG this year. Retinyl Palmitate and other Vitamin A derivatives have been shown to result in more skin tumors and lesions on animals treated with this ingredient and then exposed to sunlight. While MI, has actually been labeled as an inactive ingredient or preservative, was called ‘the allergen of the year’ by the American Contact Dermatitis Society in 2013. In March 2015, the European Scientific Committee on Consumer Safety concluded that no concentration of MI could be considered safe in leave-on cosmetic products (EU SCCS 2014). MI is present in 66 sunscreens assessed in this year’s report.
What to Look for in a Good Sunscreen
All these concerns in mind, what can we do to better protect ourselves from the harmful effects of sun exposure? One thing, when using sunscreen, pick the right one. Based on current research, mineral sunscreens tend to rate best, particularly those with zinc oxide or titanium dioxide. They are stable in sunlight, offer a good balance between protection from the two types of ultraviolet radiation (UVA and UVB) and don’t often contain potentially harmful additives. (EWG report, 2016).
Sunscreen is a helpful tool for protecting your skin from the harmful effects of the sun when used appropriately. Be sure to use it as recommended, and choose a sunscreen that has minimal/no harmful chemicals in it, particularly a mineral based one. Keep these things in mind, and the additional measures you can take to protect your skin, and you can help decrease your risk of developing serious illnesses like skin cancer.
4. Cantharis 30 CH: This homeopathic remedy is great for burns of almost any type, including sunburns. You can use this in conjunction with Aloe gel or by itself. This would be a good choice if you’re concerned about your child trying to eat the aloe gel once applied. This remedy, like Aloe gel, also relieves pain and helps promote healing.
5. Apis 30 CH: This homeopathic remedy is excellent for bee stings in particular, but can be used to treat other stings and bug bites as well. Generally helps with reducing swelling, pain and heat. Especially helpful for swelling around the eyes when the eyes are becoming too swollen to open the lids. Caution: If someone in your family has an anaphylactic allergy and they require an epi-pen, do not carry Apis in place of the epi-pen.
.This is by no means all the various natural remedies you could use for these situations, nor is it all the possible situations you could potentially encounter this summer. However, this is a good place to start to cover a lot of the common issues that could occur. If you’re not familiar or comfortable with the use of any of these remedies, always check with your Naturopathic Doctor or other similarly educated health care practitioner before use.
Note: Talk to your Naturopathic Doctor today about getting assessed and treated if needed, and as always talk to your health care provider before beginning any new medication or supplement. This information is not meant to replace the advice/guidance of a medical professional, nor should it be acted upon by individuals unsupervised by the appropriate healthcare provider.
I am a Naturopathic Doctor and Doula providing care in the Kitchener-Waterloo area. I have a passion for helping people with their health issues and improving the birth experience for Moms, and their babies. I also have a life long love affair with soccer, curling, and the alto saxophone.