Make Your Own Dr. Oz Cold & Flu Winter Rescue Kit

Dr. Oz Flu and Cold Tips
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“This year, as many as I in 5 of you will get the flu—and there can be over a billion colds. Are you prepared? Well if not, we are fixing that today,” says Dr. Oz as he turns his TV studio into the ultimate cold and flu command center with a staff of cold and flu experts who will show you how to make your own Dr. Oz cold & flu winter rescue kit.

With Dr. Oz is special guest Darria Long, MD an emergency room physician who works out of the Harvard Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.

“Why is the cold and flu so much more worse during the winter time?” Dr. Oz. asks Dr. Long.

“Well many of the viruses that cause a cold or flu actually live longer in colder and drier weather. And not only that, but they are more easily transmitted from one person to another, so you have a greater chance of catching it and spreading it,” says Dr. Long.

Dr. Oz explains that the air is filled with cold and flu- causing microorganisms that enter the body through the mouth and nose. And, that if those microorganisms can get past the nasal-oral area and down into the lungs, an infection can occur if there is a break in your body’s defense system. This infection will then elicit an immune system response that manifests as the first sign of a cold or flu.

Cold & Flu Winter Rescue Kit Item #1: Saline nasal spray

“Dr. Long, at the first sign of a cold or flu, what do you recommend?” asks Dr. Oz.

“A saline nasal spray is one thing that I suggest to all of my patients,” says Dr. Long. “It’s so simple, but it’s a really great remedy,” she explains telling viewers that especially during the winter months that the nasal passages can become dry and harbor bacteria and viruses that can cause disease. A saline nasal spray will moisturize the dry nasal passages and help flush away the microorganisms and mucous that accompanies an infection.

Dr. Long advises going to your local pharmacy and choosing a saline spray that is labeled containing sodium chloride and purified water to get the purest selection of a saline nasal spray for fighting a cold or flu.

Cold & Flu Winter Rescue Kit Item #2: Ibuprofen, acetaminophen and cold towels

One of the problems with coming down with illness during the winter months is recognizing whether you are coming down with a cold or the flu. With Dr. Oz to answer that question is ER physician Robert Glatter, MD from Lenox Hill Hospital.

“Basically the flu comes on suddenly and hits you like a ton of bricks, whereas a cold has a very gradual onset,” says Dr. Glatter. “You may have some nasal congestion, sneezing and a runny nose or cough. It’s very important to know the difference.”

Dr. Oz explains to viewers that another difference between how a cold and flu feels is that whereas both start in the head with symptoms, with a cold only the head is affected. However, with the flu, the symptoms continue past the head and travels throughout the body with symptoms like muscle aches, diarrhea and other intestinal issues and then an eventual fever.

For answers on how to treat the flu, Dr. Oz introduces Dr. Holly Phillips a medical and health contributor with CBS This Morning.

“Instead of putting a hand to a head, you should really reach for a thermometer,” says Dr. Phillips who tells viewers that one of the biggest myths of detecting a fever due to the flu is to place your hand on a child’s forehead to see if they are overly warm. However, if the child is shivering or sweating, then she states that this is a good sign that they are coming down with the flu.

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For treating a fever, Dr. Phillips recommends that people should alternate taking ibuprofen and acetaminophen every 4-6 hours explaining that each works on different receptors in the body.

“It’s like giving a fever a one-two punch,” says Dr. Phillips.

She also advises placing damp towels cooled in a refrigerator under each arm pit and behind the neck to provide relief from a fever, because major blood vessels lie close to the skin in those areas and will help with cooling the body.

Cold & Flu Winter Rescue Kit Item #3: Blackcurrant lozenges

Another symptom of illness during the cold and flu season is a sore throat. Dr. Oz asks special guest Ears, Nose and Throat specialist Chandra Ivey, MD how does a person know if it’s just a sore throat from a cold or flu, or from something much worse?

“Well, start by looking in the mirror,” says Dr. Ivey. “When you do look in the back of the throat and it’s red and irritated, this is often a common cold. It can be associated with a little post-nasal drip, but if instead when you look and you see white patches or pus, then this could be a sign of something much more serious.”

Dr. Oz explains that with a virus you will typically see some redness in the back of the throat, but if there is the white patches or pus Dr. Ivey talks about then you are looking at a bacterial infection that needs to be treated by a physician.

For treating a sore throat due to a cold or flu, Dr. Ivey recommends taking Blackcurrant lozenges, which contains natural chemicals that can decrease inflammation and soothe a sore throat.

“One of the biggest mistakes people do is taking too much menthol. A lot of our lozenges have menthol in them, and while it does cause a cooling sensation in the throat it can also breakdown some of the good mucous in the throat…it can actually damage the throat over time,” says Dr. Ivey.

Cold & Flu Winter Rescue Kit Item #4: Dextromethorphan and Guaifenesin cough syrups

For managing coughs during a cold or flu, Dr. Oz states that there are different types of coughs, and that depending on what kind you have will determine how you should treat it.

Dr. Ivey explains that a dry cough is a type where the vocal cords are slamming against each other, which can cause damage to the vocal cords. This type of cough needs to be suppressed. However, wet coughs requires a different approach where rather than suppressing the cough, you need to help it.

“Wet coughs indicate that you have mucous production, and an expectorant…can actually decrease that mucous and thin it out so that it comes out,” says Dr. Ivey.

Dr. Oz advises viewers that the only two cough medicines they need to add to their kit are cough suppressants with Dextromethorphan for treating a dry cough and a cough expectorant with Guaifenesin for treating a wet cough.

“These are the only two cough syrups you are ever going to need,” says Dr. Oz. “You don’t need those combination products and miss the target by trying to treat everything at once. Buy exactly what you need and take it when you need it.”

For a look at what celebrities take to treat their cold and flu, follow this link to an article titled “Hollywood Celebrity Common Cold Remedies."

Image Source: Courtesy of MorgueFile

Reference: The Dr. Oz Show—“Winter Rescue: Your Cold and Flu Rescue Pack”

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