Ahhh, fall is here. Even in steamy, swampy Florida you can feel the crispness in the air in the morning. It begins to intrude upon on all your senses. The taste of yummy pumpkin lattes, dry air hitting your skin, seeing leaves change, the smell of bon fires now and again, and the sounds of sickness, uggghh. That’s right, with the change of seasons we also welcome the science experiment that the town becomes as soon as school returns to session that last week in August. It’s as Florida, were a giant petri dish incubating all summer and then wham, everywhere you turn you can hear and see sick people out and about sneezing, sniffling, and hacking. What’s one to do? With the economy in throws, most people that are lucky enough to have a job aren’t about to call in sick for themselves or to keep their sick kid home from school and so the contagion begins.  Be diligent!!! Wash your hands more than normal. Try not to touch things when you are out and about if at all possible and certainly don’t touch your face or mouth after touching something unless you want a sick day of course.

So far this year the cold and flu’s that are going around seem to have an element of dryness with them as well as intense fatigue. There’s a burning in the throat as a warning sign 2-3 days prior to full blown illness. If you find yourself more tired than usual, try to rest. Make nourishing moistening soups like vegetable beef, tomato, and chicken and rice with lots of garlic. You can even freeze them in portion sizes so if you do fall victim to this season’s cold and flu you are able to easily feed yourself a nourishing meal without much effort. If you are already familiar with the netti pot you may want to increase your time together to stay ahead of the dryness. Simple saline will do, but a garlic wash is also helpful for the brave who are prone to instant sinus infections.

Herbal medicines can be of great benefit to nip a cold in the bud before it becomes full blown.  ACF, by buried treasure available at Art of Acupuncture and  most health food stores is my secret weapon when I find myself treating the sneezing masses. The trick to it is to double the frequency of dosage and to continue taking 24-48 hours past feeling well to ensure the pathogen has truly left your terrain.  They also make a pediatric version without white willow bark (natural aspirin) incase of fever. Gan Mao Ling is another favorite if you happen to know a Chinese herbalist. You can take it at bottle dosage preventatively or double the frequency if you suspect you are in-fact fighting something. Again take it a day or two past feeing better. I never get on a plane without a dose of Gan Mao Ling just to make sure I don’t ruin my vacation. As always, if you are a current patient of ours and you suspect your sick, call us and leave a message with your symptoms and we will set out custom herbs for you to stay ahead of the plague, no appointment necessary. Don’t forget to follow the golden rule of illness. For every day that you have a fever please stay home for 24 hours. The person next to you on the bus or in the grocery store that you might infect may not handle the cold or flu as easily as you!