Holy crap, that’s a lot of snot!

So, cold and flu season is upon us and without a doubt, many of us will fall victim to a litany of viruses which attack us during the winter season and allow us to experience a multitude of pleasurable symptoms such as packed snot, runny snot, itchy snot, here a snot, there a snot, everywhere a snot, snot.

Although the symptoms are uncomfortable and unpleasant to experience (and we often want to be better immediately), it is important to note that the overwhelming majority of time…and I mean the *overwhelming majority of the time*, antibiotics are not indicated. Antibiotics don’t kill viruses…they kill bacteria! Using antibiotics to kill viruses is like trying to kill weeds with Lysol. You may kill a couple of weeds from the sheer toxic nature of Lysol, but you’re certainly not gonna kill all the dandelions with it.

Okay, okay…there are some folks who say, “yeah, but I always get a Z-pack and that’s the only thing that makes me better.” Well, to be honest, it is not the bacteria killing nature of the antibiotic, but rather the small anti-inflammatory effect that provides symptom relief.

I’d like to offer you some suggestions to help minimize the symptoms and maximize your recovery. To begin, the most underrated (and often underutilized) medicines are vitamin C, water and rest. Multiple studies have shown the effectiveness of vitamin C alone in significantly reducing the transmission of viruses in addition to lessening the intensity of symptoms and shortening the length of time you suffer from symptoms. These are dirt cheap solutions and I honestly can’t figure out we continue to have a love affair with antibiotics that don’t kill viruses yet avoid the very things that help us get better quicker.

Here are some suggestions that I share with patients:

  1. Supportive treatment: vitamin C 250-500 mg every 1-2 hours, high quality green tea 2-3 times a day, zinc 20-30 mg twice a day, echinacea tincture twice a day for a week and elderberry extract 1 tablespoon 2-3 times a day for the first 3-4 days
  2. Relief of sore throat: gargle 1 teaspoon of salt dissolved in 2 cups of hot water mixed with a tablespoon of honey and apple cider vinegar four times a day.
  3. Relief of sinus pressure and congestion: boil 2 cups of water and add 2 cups of chamomile tea, 1 tablespoon of time, 1-2 teaspoons of garlic and a few drops of either peppermint oil or eucalyptus. Allow the ingredients to steep for 1 to 2 minutes and then, once it has cooled off enough, inhale the steam and watch your sinus passageways magically open up

So try these suggestions rather than succumb to the temptation to use antibiotics…it’s snot the right thing to do.

Jack Forbush, DO

About Jack Forbush, DO

Dr. Jack Forbush is a private practice family physician in Hampden, ME providing comprehensive, cost-effective family medicine including obstetrics, pediatrics, women's and men's healthcare services, minor surgery and Osteopathic Manipulative Treatment. For more information about his direct care practice, visit www.ocfm.com, follow him on Twitter or check out the office’s Facebook page. Opinions expressed in this blog do not reflect those of any organization the author is associated with.