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Dr. Shiffler On Late Winter Illness

Dr. Shiffler On Late Winter Illness


Spring is in the air! The weather is getting warmer and beautiful plants are blooming, but you start experiencing sneezing, nasal congestion, cough, headache and sore muscles. You think to yourself, “Is this allergies, a cold, or even the flu?”

Sometimes it is difficult to know right away if your symptoms are infectious or not. According to the CDC, influenza continues to persist in our communities. So let’s discuss how to differentiate your symptoms and what steps you can take. It is always recommended to make an appointment with your physician to receive the correct diagnosis.

Seasonal allergy symptoms typically present with sneezing, itching eyes, stuffy or runny nose, sore throat, headache, or cough. This is what I typically see in office, however, every individual is different. Pink eye may also be associated with seasonal allergies.

Influenza, commonly referred to as “the flu” is also a disease of the upper respiratory tract, but can be associated with other symptoms.  For example, you will most likely have a cough, stuffy or runny nose and sore throat, but headache, nausea, vomiting, fever, body aches and diarrhea are also common. Depending on the severity of symptoms you may be able to treat yourself at home, but I always suggest seeking treatment from a physician to aid in faster symptom improvement. Influenza can also lead to secondary infections such as bronchitis, pneumonia, or dehydration.

A typical common cold will present very similarly to influenza, but is usually not as severe. You may have a cough, sore throat, headache, fatigue, stuffy or runny nose, and poor appetite. It is possible to treat palliatively at home but consulting with a physician is always recommended, especially if you experience difficulty breathing, inability to keep down liquids, dizziness or pain in the chest or abdomen.

So, what’s next? The goal of any naturopathic treatment is to help enhance or modulate the body’s own immunity. Nutritional changes, supplementation, herbal remedies, homeopathy, hydrotherapy or acupuncture may be prescribed.

Nutrition: Along with hydration and fluid consumption, it may be recommended to eat lightly to allow the body to focus its efforts on healing.

  • Soups, broths, steamed vegetables at the onset of symptoms may be helpful.
  • Avoiding fried foods, processed sugar, alcohol, dairy products and caffeine.
  • Eating foods high in vitamin c: dark leafy greens, broccoli, citrus fruits and dark skinned berries.
  • Herbal teas teas throughout any illness are helpful to throat and upper respiratory issues.


  • Bioflavonoids—1000 mg daily
  • Vitamin A—5,000-25,000 IUs daily (consult a physician if pregnant)
  • Vitamin C—500 mg every 2 hour
  • Vitamin D—1,000-5,000 IUs daily
  • Zinc—15-30mg daily
  • NAC—500 mg/600 mg three times daily
  • Probiotics—25 billion CFUs daily with food
  • Larch arabinogalactans 1,200mg one to four times daily

Botanical Medicine Seasonal Allergies:

  • Nettles Leaf (Urtica dioica)—Anti-allergic can reduce the frequency and severity of allergic conditions
  • Solidago (Solidago spp)— One of the best herbs to decrease upper respiratory congestion and inflammation
  • Dong quai (Angelica sinensis) - Used as an antihistamine and anti-inflammatory
  • Elder Flower (Sambucus Nigra)— Anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant

Botanical Medicine Cold or Flu:

  • Elderberry (Sambucus Nigra)— Antiviral, anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant
  • Echinacea (Echinacea spp.)—Antiviral, anti-inflammatory, and an immunomodulator
  • Licorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra)—Antiviral, antiinflammatory, and an immunomodulator
  • Lomatium (Lomatium dissectum)—Used as an antiviral
  • Osha (Ligusticum porteri)— Potent antimicrobial and immune stimulant

Prevention is very important. But if you do happen to suffer from any symptoms listed above, following recommendations from your physician will lessen the length and severity of your ailments. By being aware of the food you’re consuming and the vitamins and botanicals you take, you can keep that spring in your step this allergy season.