Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Upper Respiratory Tract infections during the last week of 2019

December 31, 2019
Paul Herscu ND, MPH
Herscu Laboratory

There are three specific observations I would like to make now, involving the current viral illnesses.

The first involves what is likely the common cold. Unlike the cold that I reported on a few years ago which led to numerous first time asthmatic crisis, in people who did not previously have asthma, this one seems to mostly present in the common fashion. What is unique about it though is how bad It is. The symptoms that we see are a runny nose, mostly with a bland clear discharge, a great deal of frontal sinus pressure, which leads to a congestive headache, extreme weakness, wiped out, exhausted, and some body aches. Low fever of 99-I00.5. In many ways, this is a slightly altered version of the remedy Gelsemium. My main comment here involves what happens after you take Gelsemium. Most often when you take the remedy at this time, the next day it appears as though ‘nothing happens’. You are still sick. And this is why I want to highlight an error here.

But first, as background, here are some numbers for what is typically found in the common cold, what the natural progression is:
1.     Fever can last up to 7-9 days.
2.     Sore throat can last up to 9 days
3.     Cough can last 2 weeks and even more.
4.     Runny nose can last 2 weeks and even more.
5.     The body aches can last 10 days to a couple of weeks.

Here is why I mention this. Many times, when one takes a remedy we expect to see a marked changed within minutes to hours, but for sure by the next day. And when that seems not to happen we switch remedies to something else that may seem correct. I would like to offer that that many not be the case this time. If you give the Gelsemium, if the symptoms of Gelsemium fit, it is possible that you will not see a marked change soon after. However, if you wait with the remedy you will find that the overall length of time of feeling really badly is pretty short. Yes, it may be that the runny nose lasts for 10 days-couple of weeks. However, you should feel pretty good within a day or two after taking the remedy. It is as if your body has recovered nicely, in terms of energy and foggy headedness, but the virus is still replicating and still doing its thing, before it leaves. To be clear here, in short, pick your remedy, here Gelsemium being the most common, and stick with it without changing for a couple of days and mostly you will see that you are back to yourself. It is just that the most common mistake here for most people has been to change remedies too soon, expecting a sudden change rather than an overall shortening of the illness.

The second comment is on the more severe gastrointestinal viral infection just now (see below as well). This ‘stomach flu’ is characterized primarily by really violent intense vomiting. Mostly not accompanied by constipation or diarrhea. There are chills and sweats and fever with this. Mostly a clear to slightly yellow moss coating on the whole tongue and a slight swelling of the tongue forming scalloped edges. They can not stand anything in the stomach, not better hot or cold, though hot is worse. These people seem to have done better with Mercurius. They may vomit once or twice more afterwards but then it is done!

The third comment is for the more severe influenza-like-illness. To be clear, I want to highlight that in this instance, I did not do any viral testing, so am not sure which of the folks had the flu and which did not, but am presenting the symptom picture, which should dictate the remedy choice. To be sure, I like to know what the virus is that we are dealing with, since that matters to what the course looks like, but let me stick to the symptoms for now. Headache, eye pressure and pain, sinus congestion, severe body aches that migrate from hips to back to extremities in any order, extreme weakness, potentially some nausea and vomiting though not as severe as I described above, fever that ranges from 99-102. Not thirsty or hungry. Not especially chilly or warm, though slightly more chilly than warm. In many ways, the most striking symptoms are the muscle aches and headaches. The remedy that seems to be most helpful is Eupatorium perfoliatum. They may describe this illness as the worse one they have had in many, many years. That is how painful it is. It sort of looks like Bryonia but without the aggravation from motion found there. It sort of looks like Arsenicum album, but without the extreme chilliness or amelioration by heat. Typically, one finds a great deal of restlessness in Eupatorium, but don’t expect to see it this time. Also, typically you find high thirst for very cold drinks, but again, do not expect to see this this time. Many people did not give this remedy as the symptoms that were missing or presenting were not as typical as thought of, but during this epidemic, this is how Eupatorium is presenting.

Needless to say, take any antiviral herbs/vitamins that you know about, keep your diet clean, get sleep where you can, and make sure that someone is attending to you so that you have proper health care.

Lastly, Amy and I wish you and your loved ones a very happy and healthy 2020,

For further information on Herscu Epidemic Updates & Dr. Rothenberg’s writing on prevention and treating winter illness, click here.

Paul Herscu, ND, MPH