The Flu Shot

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Getting a flu shot often protects you from coming down with the flu. And although the flu shot doesn’t always provide total protection, it’s worth getting.

This year’s annual flu shot will offer protection against H1N1 flu (swine flu) virus, in addition to two other influenza viruses that are expected to be in circulation this flu season. A new vaccine that protects against four strains of the virus will also be available, as will a high-dose flu vaccine for adults age 65 and older.

Influenza is a respiratory infection that can cause serious complications, particularly to young children and to older adults. Flu shots are the most effective way to prevent influenza and its complications.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that everyone 6 months of age or older be vaccinated annually against influenza.

Here are the answers to common questions about flu shots.

 All about the Flu Shot

 Image: MilitaryHealth 

The Many Uses of Honey

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honey

 

Throughout history honey has been a staple in homes across the globe. Many people use it because it tastes great, but that isn’t all you can use it for.

It never spoils, honey has been found inside tombs in Egypt and it is still edible, and delicious. According to WebMD, laboratory research is showing exactly how well honey works on many different types of wounds, but they also caution to not give honey to infants, because of the risk of botulism. So, whether you are looking for a great all natural sweetener or an all natural anti-bacterial, Honey has you covered. Here are just a few of the great ways you can use honey.

 Antibacterial Honey

Honey can hamper the growth of food-borne pathogens such as E. coli and salmonella, and to fight certain bacteria, including Staphylococcus aureus and Pseudomonas aeruginosa, both of which are common in hospitals and doctors’ offices. But whether it does the same in people hasn’t been proven.

Shop for honey and you’ll see that some are lighter, others are darker. In general, the darker the honey, the better its antibacterial and antioxidant power.

 Manuka honey is made in New Zealand from the nectar of Leptospermum scoparium. The product Medihoney, which has been FDA approved since 2007 is used for treating skin ulcers and wounds.

Honey For Allergies

If you suffer from seasonal allergies, instead of heading out to the pharmacy or reaching for an over the counter allergy medication, try a tablespoon of honey. While some laboratory studies have suggested that honey has the potential to clear up stuffy noses and help with allergies triggered by pollen, it won’t work with just any honey. You need to make sure that the honey you use is from your local area. The closer to your home the better and it isn’t an immediate fix. To see what works best for you, try a spoonful of local honey every day.

Honey and Colds

A study that involved 139 children, honey beat out dextromethorphan (a cough suppressant) and diphenhydramine (an antihistamine) in easing nighttime cough in children and improving their sleep.

Another simular study that involved 105 children found that buckwheat honey worked much better dextromethorphan in suppressing nighttime coughs.

These are just a few of the many ways you can use honey. Check back tomorrow for more ways you can use honey!

Image: Dino Giordano

First Aid – Build Your Own Natural First Aid Emergency Kit

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Everyone should have a well stocked first aid kit. Knowing that you have the items on hand to be able to handle medical issues at home and immediately is simply priceless.

 

Know what you can treat at home and what you need to see a professional for is also essential. But, in this post we will talk about what you should have in your first aid kit. Herbs and essential oils have been effectively treating people (and animals) for thousands of years. But, which ones should you use for what? Read on to find out.

 

In the event of an emergency or disaster having all the items you need close at hand can make all the difference. A word of caution when selecting herbs and oils, always make sure that you are getting your herbs from a trusted source, they need to be clean and organic. Growing your own is a great way to stay stocked up. For Essential oils, you need to make sure that you are using therapeutic grade essential oils. NOT perfume oils, this is not something that you should try and skimp on. We like Young Living Essential Oils.

 

All of the remedies are available at any well-stocked health-food store and online.

 

Aloe vera gel: Cooling and healing, aloe vera (Aloe vera) soothes the inflammation of sunburn and common kitchen scalds and burns.

Arnica gel or cream: Arnica (Arnica montana) flowers have anti-inflammatory and circulation-stimulating properties; the gel or cream is excellent for sore muscles, sprains, strains and bruises. Do not apply arnica to broken skin. 

Calendula-comfrey salve: The bright yellow-orange blossoms of calendula (Calendula officinalis) have astringent, antibacterial, antifungal, anti-inflammatory and wound-healing properties. Comfrey (Symphytum officinale) contains allantoin, a compound that stimulates the growth of new tissue and helps heal wounds. 

Chamomile tea bags: With its delicious distinctive flavor, chamomile (Matricaria recutita) makes a tasty tea. Gentle enough for children, chamomile has mild sedative, antispasmodic, anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties. It promotes relaxation, relieves indigestion and, when applied topically, soothes skin irritations.

Echinacea liquid extract: Rich in immune-stimulating chemicals, echinacea (Echinacea spp.) can be used for any type of infection. Liquid extracts are the most versatile because they can be used both internally and externally.

Elderberry capsules or liquid extract: Elderberry (Sambucus nigra) is essential for stopping a cold or flu from ruining your vacation. The berries contain compounds that prevent cold and flu viruses from invading and infecting cells. If you’re flying or otherwise potentially exposed to viruses, taking elderberry is a good preventive. If you do come down with a cold or flu, taking elderberry can hasten your recovery time.

Eucalyptus essential oil: A potent antibiotic and antiviral, eucalyptus (Eucalyptus globulus) is excellent for treating colds, flus and sinus infections when used as a steam inhalation. Dilute with oil or witch hazel extract before applying to the skin, and do not take internally.

Ginger capsules, tea bags and crystallized ginger: The antispasmodic and gas-relieving properties of ginger (Zingiber officinale) soothe digestive upsets. Ginger also has been proven to relieve motion sickness better than Dramamine, the conventional drug treatment.

Goldenseal capsules or powder: A powerful antimicrobial, goldenseal (Hydrastis canadensis) is effective against a variety of microorganisms that cause traveler’s diarrhea. The powder has antiseptic properties and can be sprinkled onto cuts or wounds to stop bleeding. Do not take goldenseal internally during pregnancy.

Grindelia poison oak/ivy tincture or spray: Grindelia (Grindelia camporum), also known as gumweed, contains resins and tannins that help to relieve the pain and itching of plant rashes. It’s available as a tincture and also as a spray specifically for treating poison oak/poison ivy rashes.

Lavender essential oil: Virtually an all-purpose remedy, lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) has sed- ative, anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties. It’s helpful for anxiety, insomnia, headaches, wounds and burns. For most people, lavender essential oil can be applied directly to the skin. Do not take more than 1 to 2 drops internally.

Laxative herbal tea bags: Travel constipation is a common complaint. Most herbal laxative teas rely on senna (Cassia senna), which contains compounds called anthraquinones that stimulate intestinal activity. Because senna has a bitter, unpleasant flavor, it’s often combined with tasty herbs such as cinnamon, fennel, licorice and ginger.
Peppermint essential oil and tea bags: With its high concentration of menthol, peppermint (Mentha xpiperita) soothes an upset stomach, clears sinuses and curbs itching from insect bites. If you have sensitive skin, dilute peppermint oil before applying. Taken internally, peppermint may aggravate heartburn. Valerian tincture: The sedative properties of valerian (Valeriana officinalis) make it useful for relieving anxiety, insomnia and tension; it’s also a mild pain reliever.

Witch hazel extract: Distilled witch hazel (Hamamelis virginiana) has mild astringent, antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties, making it useful for insect bites and skin irritations. It’s also an excellent base for diluting essential oils for a variety of simple, topical herbal first-aid remedies. Do not take it internally.

 

Additional First-Aid Essentials

  • Adhesive bandage strips: Various sizes, including butterfly closure bandages.
  • Alcohol: Small plastic bottle for removing poison oak/ivy oils from the skin.
  • Bandage materials: Sterile gauze pads, a roll of gauze, adhesive bandage tape.
  • Cosmetic clay: With drying and drawing properties, clay is useful for healing skin rashes and insect bites. Store in a small plastic container.
  • Elastic bandage: For sprains or strains.
  • Electrolyte replacement: Powdered drink packets such as Emergen-C.
  • Moleskin: Blister treatment.
  • Scissors: Small pair for cutting bandages, adhesive tape, moleskin.
  • Thermometer: Instant-read type.
  • Tweezers: For removing ticks and splinters.
  • Waterless hand sanitizer: Travel-size bottle.

 

 

40 Home Remedies for Colds and Flus

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The brisk mornings and the scent of fall can be so invigorating!

 

But it’s also a reminder that cold and flu season is just around the corner.

It’s time to be prepping our immune system for the coming wave of germs.

And while we’re at it, why not stock our natural medicine cabinets with great home remedies that will banish the ickies and have us back on our feet in no time!

That is, if we get sick.

 

Here is the link…

 

40 Home Remedies for Colds and Flus