The 2015 flu season has been one of the worst we’ve seen in years and unfortunately, we’re not out of the woods yet. According to renowned pharmacist Jim Morelli “We are still in the middle of flu season and this is going to go on for several more months.”
Jim was kind enough to join me for an interview recently to discuss how we can stay healthy this winter and what we need to do to prevent and treat the flu!
Candace Rose: What do we need to know as we continue into winter?
Jim Morelli: “Well, I think we have to know that there are certain problems in winter that are kind of exclusive to winter, and one of them that is very common is is dry itchy skin. What do you do about that? Well, first of all, you want to make sure that you’re not dehydrated. Many people in winter are, they just don’t realize it. Make sure you’re drinking those six to eight glasses of water or other fluids per day. Also, when you’re taking a shower try to ratchet the temperature down a little bit because hot water tends to dry the skin. When you get out of the shower put some lotion on.
You can do all of those things and a lot of people are still going to get dry itchy skin, and what I would recommend is picking up some TRICALM. This is a hydrogel, meaning it goes on and penetrates easily and it doesn’t leave you with a greasy feeling. The main thing about this is it’s steroid free, and it’s five times more effective (studies show) at relieving itch than the steroid based hydrocortisone 1% cream. Also, you’re not going to get the side effects you would get with the hydrocortisone which could include thinning of the skin, discoloration of the skin. The great thing is that if it doesn’t work for you the manufacturer will give you your money back. It’s over the counter, so you can just pick it up right off the shelf.”
Candace Rose: What do you suggest to keep on hand this winter?
Jim Morelli: “Well, first of all, keep in mind we are still in the middle of flu season and this is going to go on for several more months. It is kind of a nasty flu season. If you have not gotten a vaccination, you can still get vaccinated. There is still plenty of time. It would have been better if you’d done it earlier, but better late than never with the vaccination. You probably have heard that this year the vaccination is not fully protective, but that does not mean it’s not protective at all. It is your best protection against not getting the flu.
As far as something to keep on hand though if you do get sick, is Oscillococcinum (which is Oscillo for short) – ask the pharmacist for Oscillo they’ll know what you mean. If you take this as soon as you start to feel lousy – fever, body aches, chills, this will shorten the duration and the severity of flu-like symptoms. The great thing is you can use it pretty much for the whole family (kids as young as two) it won’t interact with drugs, no side effects and it’s not going to cause drowsiness. It’s portable. You can take it with you, that’s important because again as I say, you’ll want to take it as soon as you feel lousy. Let’s say you’re at work and all of a sudden you start to feel it come on, take it, that’s the time to do it.”
Candace Rose: Are there any other special concerns when it comes to our health in winter?
Jim Morelli: “Winter’s that time of year when people kind of kick back a little bit and it’s easy to slip bad habits because of the weather primarily.We tend to eat foods that are good for us, but we eat too much of them. I’m thinking my son loves macaroni and cheese, and beef stew and all those good warm foods. They’re all fine and well, but if that’s all we’re eating, we’re not getting a balanced diet.
Try to include one piece of fresh fruit or a vegetable with each meal. Also, I want you to get enough sleep and exercise because those two things help to kick up the immune system. I know exercise is hard when it’s cold out and when there’s snow on the ground, but if you can even get out and do some walking that would really, really help.”
Candace Rose: Thank you for the great health tips, Jim. Where can we go for more information?
Jim Morelli: “The flu season as I say is a pretty bad one and you probably want to keep track of it. The best place to do that is CDC.gov. They’ve got a map there of the United States which shows where the flu is present and they update it every week, so I’d recommend keeping track of the flu there. And again, getting that flu shot if you haven’t gotten one yet.”