Cold vs Allergies: Which Do You Have?

Cold weather is finally here! That means it’s time for Pumpkin Spice Lattes, warm sweaters, and.. fall allergies. 

 

If you’re experiencing a runny nose, congestion, sneezing, or coughing, you may be one of the more than 50 million Americans that suffer from allergies each year. Or, you could have a cold –– and telling the two apart isn’t as simple as it may seem. 

 

Allergies and colds are two very different diseases. Allergies are an immune system reaction to substances like pet dander and pollen, while the “common cold” is an infection caused by a virus that typically lasts 7 to 10 days. 

 

Colds are transmitted through virus droplets that a sick person sheds when they cough or sneeze, and, despite its name, you can catch a “cold” at any point in the year — Yes, even in the summer. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that the average healthy adult catches two or three colds per year.

 

While seasonal allergies are most common in the springtime, when hay fever and allergies caused by trees are heightened, many Americans experience seasonal allergies during the early fall months, too. Cool autumn air can even harbor irritants that are just as aggravating as pollen (Seriously!). 

 

So, why do people confuse the two so easily? 

 

It’s all about your symptoms – and the way you respond to them. Once you learn the difference between allergies and colds, you can find the right method of relieve for your symptoms — fast. 

 

One major signifier that you struggle with allergies and not a cold? Timing. If your cold-like symptoms develop suddenly and occur for long periods at the same time each year, you likely struggle with seasonal allergies. Unfortunately, people with allergies may be more prone to catching colds. 

 

Symptoms of the common cold include: 

 

  • Sore throat, runny/stuffy nose, in addition to coughing and sneezing 
  • For more severe colds: headaches, fevers, and body aches 
  • If symptoms last more than a week or two, the virus may contribute to a more serious infection, such as a sinus infection, pneumonia, or bronchitis 

 

Allergy and cold similar symptoms: 

 

    • Sneezing 
    • Coughing 
    • Sore throat 
    • Runny nose 
    • Nasal congestion 
    • Watery eyes 

 

Telling them apart: 

 

The symptoms that colds and allergies DON’T share can be more telling than anything. Colds are more likely to cause fatigue, aches and pains, sore throat, and fevers. Allergies are more likely to cause itchy eyes, wheezing, and skin rashes such as eczema or hives. 

 

When trying to decide what ailment you’re experiencing, consider these three things: 

 

  1. Time of the year 
  2. Duration of symptoms 
  3. What treatments are helping 

 

Consult with Dr. Judy if you are unsure about which category your symptoms fall under. 

 

Natural remedies for seasonal allergies: 

 

  • Detox your body by eliminating fried foods, sugar, alcohol and other toxins from your diet or try liver supportive foods and herbs such as milk thistle, turmeric, artichoke, citrus fruits, and nuts 
  • Cleanse your nose with a neti pot, sinus irrigator, or nasal oils
  • Try acupuncture to help address underlying imbalances within the body 
  • Take probiotics to help stimulate the production of immune-enhancing substances
  • Add essential oils like peppermint, basil, eucalyptus, and tea tree oil to your bath, tea, massage oil, or oil diffuser to help reduce allergy symptoms 

 

Natural remedies for colds:

 

  • Stay hydrated with water, juice, or warm lemon water (with honey) to help prevent dehydration and loosen congestion
  • Sip warm liquids such as tea, soup, or warm apple juice to soothe aches and increase mucus flow 
  • Add moisture to the air by using a cool vaporizer or humidifier 
  • Boost your Vitamin C intake to reduce phlegm 
  • Most importantly, rest: your body needs time to heal. 

 

Dr. Judy uses Standard Process supplements and doTerra essential oils to promote a healthy immune system all year round. If you are suffering from Cold or Allergy symptoms, speak with Dr. Judy at your next adjustment and get the relief you need!

Ticks: Dangers, Prevention Tips, and Treatment.

Ticks are a sensitive subject during the summertime in North America. And for good reason: a quick google of the word ‘tick’ will bring up stories such as “A New York Man Was Killed by a Rare Brain-Infecting Disease Spread by Ticks” and “Ticks are Reaching Record Numbers in North Carolina” – and it’s only August. 

 

Adult ticks – which are about the size of a sesame seed – can be active any time the temperature is above freezing, but they are most active during the warmer months. They are particularly pervasive from March to mid-May and from mid-August to November.

 

Ticks can be infected with bacteria, viruses or parasites, and carry pathogens that can be passed onto humans through the bite of an infected tick. The most commonly found tick-borne illnesses include Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, and Tick-Borne Relapsing Fever. 

 

In the United States alone, more than 300,000 people are diagnosed with Lyme disease each year, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC); however, health officials have acknowledged that the true number of cases is likely much higher. 

 

Lyme has been diagnosed in almost every state, but recent reports show that 90% of cases stemmed from 14 states: Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, and Wisconsin. 

 

Celebrities from Shania Twain to Avril Lavigne, Alec Baldwin, Yolanda Hadid, and Ben Stiller have been outspoken about their battles with the illness. Lavigne has even used her platform to spread awareness, famously telling People Magazine in 2015 that she was “bedridden for five months” due to her crippling symptoms. 

 

There is no direct way to test for Lyme disease – doctors can only test for the presence of antibodies that your body releases in response to the disease. If a test comes back negative, it may be that the antibodies haven’t built up enough to be detected, so if you think you have Lyme disease, it’s important to start treatment as soon as possible. 

 

Lyme disease – transmitted by the black-legged tick – has been called the “Great Imitator,” because its symptoms can mimic hundreds of other medical problems.

 

Symptoms of Lyme and other tick-borne diseases may be subtle or pronounced, and range from digestive and respiratory issues to vision impairments, neurological issues, and skin problems. 

 

Prevention Tips (and what to do if you’ve been bitten) 

 

Be tick aware. Use these prevention tips to maximize your safety!

 

  • Avoid areas where ticks live: woodpiles, long grass, leaf piles, and beach grass.

 

  • Apply doTerra’s TerraShield Outdoor Blend which contains powerful essential oils and other plant oils known to provide outdoor protection in a natural, safe way.

 

  • Alternatively, other EPA-approved tick repellents (such as DEET) can be used, but we recommend trying natural products first. 

 

  • Remove your clothing once you get home and toss it into the dryer for 10-15 minutes at a HIGH temperature. 

 

  • Examine yourself and your pets DAILY.

 

  • Check EVERYWHERE: ticks love to hide and are often found in hairy, hot places on your body. (Yes, even your armpits.) 

 

For more information on all common tick-borne diseases, go to  https://www.cdc.gov/ticks/diseases/index.html

 

How Chiropractic Can Help with Symptoms

A Science Daily report shows that 15% of patients with Lyme disease develop central nervous system involvement – resulting in painful, sometimes debilitating symptoms. And, this is not exclusive to Lyme disease: it can be felt by any tick-borne illness.

 

New research also indicates that inflammation plays a major factor in the neurological changes associated with Lyme. Chronic Lyme symptoms include fatigue, restless sleep, aching joints and muscles, speech problems, decreased short-term memory, and pain and/or swelling in the knees, shoulders, elbows, and other joints. 

 

Inflammation is a normal and healthy way for the body to preserve itself. It helps the body to heal by removing harmful irritants and pathogens. The issue arises when inflammation becomes chronic. At this point, the body responds by creating even more inflammation.

 

While there is no one answer or quick remedy for fixing the ailments caused by Lyme disease and other tick-borne diseases, anti-inflammatory drugs have been used to prevent inflammatory reactions in the body. For people who don’t want to take medication, or have found that it isn’t enough to resolve their pain, chiropractic adjustments can help with the aches and pains by triggering a positive response in the immune system.

humidity in winter

Winter Weather: A Humidifier May Help Keep You Healthy

Temperatures have dropped as low as 11 degrees in the area this winter, and though it may not be as cold as the record-breaking chill of the Midwest, it’s important to take extra precautions to stay safe during the remainder of the season.

While turning up the heat, keeping tissues on hand, and cleaning the surfaces of your home can contribute to maintaining a healthy environment, homeowners often overlook one of the most important necessities: a humidifier.

When the air in your home is dry, you’re more susceptible to discomforts such as congestion, bloody noses, irritated vocal cords, dry coughs, cracked lips, sinus congestion, and headaches – which humidifiers have been known to treat.

This invaluable appliance has also been proven to ease the symptoms of the flu or common cold by adding moisture to the air and effectively reducing skin, nose, throat, and respiratory irritation.

On top of the many benefits that humidifiers add to human wellbeing, they can be great for your houseplants, too! Houseplants can become more vibrant, and wood floors, wallpaper, and furniture may last longer!

Signs You Need A Humidifier

According to Healthline.com, “When used with care, humidifiers can make a significant difference when it comes to dry skin and airways.”

Here are a few of the common reasons to consider using a humidifier in your home or office space:

  1. Your Hands and Lips are Constantly Dry:

Central heating can cause a 20-30% humidity level dip, which can make your skin lose moisture. Lack of moisture can leave your skin feeling tight, dry, flaky, or itchy. The skin on your hands and lips are especially vulnerable to moisture loss.

Quick fixes like hand lotion and chapstick may do the trick for a day, but, a humidifier would naturally – and seamlessly – rehydrate your skin!

  1. You Experience a Frequent Dry or Scratchy Throat:

Do you suffer from recurring seasonal colds or bacterial infections like strep throat? There are more than 3 million cases of strep throat and 1 billion diagnosed colds each year in the U.S. alone. When exposed to dry, indoor air, your vocal cords can become irritated.

A humidifier can help maintain the optimal levels of humidity in your home while soothing and lubricating your throat.

  1. You Live or Work With Kids

If you live with kids – or someone who works with them – then you know one thing: germs spread quickly!

According to Compactappliance.com, humidifiers can help you avoid getting the flu altogether. Studies have shown that the flu virus is able to survive longer in low humidity. By adding moisture to your environment during the flu season, you’re creating a less-than-ideal setting for the virus to thrive – decreasing your chance of catching it.

  1. You Snore

As if the heightened risk of developing illnesses and unpredictable weather weren’t enough, dry air can also contribute to your snoring symptoms! Lack of moisture in the air causes the nose to become congested and throat to swell, resulting in restricted air movement through the nose – that’s where humidifiers step in!

Maintaining optimal humidity levels encourages natural air movement and reduces snoring.

  1. You Have Allergy or Asthma Symptoms

Research suggests that being exposed to too high or too low levels of humidity can increase the risk of asthma-like symptoms.

Humidifiers can relieve the symptoms of people who struggle with dry sinuses or airways who are prone to allergic reactions.

 

While a humidifier is not a cure-all for winter sickness, flu prevention or the symptoms listed above, it may help. If you have severe snoring or sleep apnea symptoms, allergies, asthma or other medical conditions, please let us know!

Natural Prevention and Survival Tips for Cold and Flu Season

Studies show that between 5 percent and 20 percent of Americans are affected by the flu each year. In addition, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, adults have an average of 2-3 colds per year, and children have even more.

The peak cold and flu season is between December and February. However, in just these three months of the year, over 200,000 people can be hospitalized in the United States, and sadly, some of those cases are fatal.

Fighting colds and the flu starts with prevention!

Try these immunity-boosting tips and products we have available in the office to get your body’s defenses in tip-top shape:

  1. Saline Nasal Spray:

If your nasal passages are dry, the nose can’t flush out bacteria, which results in a safe haven for germs. You can add an essential oil like OnGuard to a saline nasal spray as well (1 drop in 4 oz. of liquid).

  1. Essential Oils like OnGuard or Breathe

doTerra On Guard is a proprietary essential oil blend and provides a natural and effective alternative for immune support.

doTerra Breathe helps to minimize the effects of seasonal threats and promotes a restful nights sleep.

  1. Nutritional Supplements (by Standard Process and MediHerb)

Epimune Complex (vegetarian/Gluten Free) or Echinacea (Gluten Free) both help strengthen the immune system response.

Astragalus (Gluten Free) is good for the elderly or those with chronic immune system issues.

 If you already have the cold or flu, then try these (by Standard Process and MediHerb):

  1. Herbal Throat Spray (Gluten Free) for a sore or scratchy throat which is usually the sign of a cold, infection or flu coming on.

2. Andrographis Complex (Gluten Free) for acute infections associated with a cold or flu.

      3. Congaplex breaks up congestion and stimulates the immune system.

      4. Broncafect helps maintain healthy lung function and fights off a cough.

      5. Oscillococcinum®   temporarily relieves flu-like symptoms such as body aches, headache, fever, chills, and fatigue. (by Boiron)

6. ColdCalm® temporarily relieves cold symptoms such as sneezing, runny nose, nasal congestion, and minor sore throat. (by Boiron)

How do you know if you have the cold or flu?

Knowing how to identify a cold or flu means being able to identify what it feels like in your body. The symptoms of a cold or flu can be similar and each is caused by a different type of virus. You can tell the difference by asking yourself: “Are symptoms in my head or my whole body?”

Colds symptoms appear slowly over a few days and mainly affect your head; you’ll have congestion, sneezing, a sore throat or a cough. Conversely, the flu affects your whole body and comes on suddenly. You’ll experience pain and body aches, GI symptoms like vomiting or diarrhea, and a fever.

Stay healthy this season!

 

Little Backs, Big Backpacks – How to Keep Your Children Safe This School Year

Are you looking into buying your child or teenager a new backpack for the holidays this year?

Know before you buy.

Backpack safety is imperative for developing children, yet many parents don’t know how heavy is too heavy.

According to the American Chiropractic Association, young children are struggling with back pain significantly more than previous generations. ACA recommends that your child’s backpack weigh no more than 5 to 10 percent of his or her body weight and never hang more than four inches below their waistline, however, statistics show that only 4 percent of parents actually weigh their child’s backpack.

Excessive backpack weight can cause a myriad of painful issues in children and adults which can potentially lead to a lifetime of health problems. If a backpack is overloaded, it can create stress on the spine while wearing a backpack improperly over one shoulder can cause permanent misalignment of the spine, muscle fatigue and a lowered state of health.

Avoid backpack-related pain, and check out our 4 steps to safe backpack use:

Choose Right

Choosing the correct size backpack is an important step to safe backpack use. Don’t pick one that is too big for your child — It should never be longer than the length of their back. 

Pack Right, Pack Light

The maximum weight of a loaded backpack should not exceed 15 percent of your child’s body weight, so don’t overpack. This means for a 100 pound child, the backpack should weigh no more than 15 pounds and for an 80 pound child, the backpack should weigh no more than 12 pounds, and so on.

Backpacks alone can weigh anywhere from 2-4 pounds, whereas textbooks can weigh over 2 pounds each. With these measurements, you can see how quickly a backpack can surpass the desired safety requirements.

Without weighing the backpack yourself, an easy way to check if it bears too much weight is to see if your child is forced to bend forward while they carry it. If they are, then it is overloaded.

A great rule of thumb is to only carry what’s needed. For example, your child doesn’t need to be carrying around textbooks from last week’s exam, overdue library books, old papers, or uneaten snacks. If they don’t need it, they should rid of it, or at the very least, store it somewhere else so they aren’t transporting it on their shoulders throughout the day. 

Lift right

To lift the backpack correctly:

  • Face the pack.
  • Bend at the knees.
  • Use both hands to lift the pack, lifting with your legs.
  • Apply shoulder straps one at a time.
  • Avoid slinging the backpack onto one shoulder. 

Wear right

To wear the backpack correctly:

  • Use both shoulder straps, pulling snug, but not too tight.
  • If there is a waist strap, use it. It will distribute the weight better.
  • Don’t let the pack hang low on your back.

Most importantly, don’t ignore persistent pain. If your child frequently complains of pain in the back or neck or if one arm or leg hurts more than the other, this is not normal and should be checked out.

Regular adjustments can help your child to deal with the stresses of a heavy backpack, plus whatever else they have to face. Afterward, they will feel 10x better and healthier.