In the 12 months since I first wrote about this new virus that was sweeping the globe, our lives have changed and changed again. Who ever would have thought that as lovers of overseas travel we would be exploring our own country more than ever before and sometimes just exploring our own local area. Toilet paper has become something to hoard and treasure and video calls have become our only means of communicating with loved ones in other places.
But life does go on and we’ve been more than fortunate in Australia to have avoided the statistics we’ve read about in other countries.
Interestingly India is reporting a sudden and unexpected drop in numbers of cases (we do know they’ve been using homeopathy in many states in India) and there is a thought that herd immunity may be kicking in.
Based on some of the post viral cases we’ve discussed on a UK homeopathy facebook group, it probably isn’t something you’re going to want to actively go and seek out. In many people, post-viral symptoms are severe, nasty and linger for many months.
Our last major update to the Management & Support for “you know what” post was around October 2020. At that time Australia was temporarily out of lockdown and on the move around the country so we were talking about Winter Prep and some remedies for acute symptoms.
The Legal Stuff!
Before I get going we are all endeavouring to stay within the regulations on what can be said, and there are medical terms and words we are not allowed to use(!), while providing information on what you can do with your home remedies should you get sick (and not necessarily with the current situation).
We are all being very careful to say that homeopathy treats the person and not the disease and while we sell lots of combination remedies with commonly recognised names for your ease of selection, the true art of homeopathy is in individualising to the person. This definition allows us to support you whatever happens with your health!
Obviously we are all being guided by health department directives and of course we are aware that should we become sick with flu-like symptoms we need to get tested and isolate.
It is extremely important that government guidelines are followed, regardless of what else you choose to do as an adjunct, and legally and ethically I am obliged to tell you this here!!
This advice is vital both for our own health and also for those with whom we come into contact. They are included in the link below but please make sure you keep up to date as directives can and do change rapidly as we’ve seen over the past few months.
This link is being updated regularly by the health department and is still the best place to check latest advice: COVID-19- Health Department advice
Our biggest risk now
It would seem that our biggest risk all along has been travellers returning from overseas and this is still the case. And while deaths have been very limited in Australia, there are still those who are at risk due to underlying health conditions.
There is talk that once numbers receiving the v*a*x*s increase we may be allowed to start travelling again. Whether this will be in high numbers or just tester trips remains to be seen, but again this is our point of weakness.
We’ve learned a lot over this time and we’ve seen who is impacted and we know the process of contagion. With our borders mostly open and travel within Australia at least expanding, we should still be mindful of protecting ourselves and our loved ones, just as we would in a flu season. Perhaps we don’t think about the risk each winter, particularly if we get a flu shot, but it is definitely always there and while it could be a mild dose of the flu for some, for others it can be serious or even fatal.
Our border opening for overseas travel sounds like it is some way off, but as we know, there is still some essential movement in and out of Australia happening. This virus is quite likely going to be around for a while, just like influenza has been each year in a slightly different form. It seems likely that we could build immunity naturally, but the risk is considered high for some, so whatever your personal choice, you do need to consider the old and vulnerable – who may well be your Mum and Dad, grandparents or the person sitting next to you on the bus who is young but chronically ill.
So what can we do heading into winter?
For now the aim is to keep well and get through another winter, to travel safe and to support our vulnerable. And don’t forget that there are still going to be other little niggly things doing the rounds and certainly we’re starting to see that as the children have returned to school.
From a complementary medicine perspective managing this each winter, regardless of what we are experiencing, is always going to be a multi-pronged approach which will include some of the government guidelines and some additional tools to support ourselves and our families.
1. Hand washing, hand sanitising
These are obvious and you’ll all be expert at this by now!
2. Social distancing
While we’re also experts at this, it is worth remembering this when you are standing in the queue at the supermarket or post office and do be aware of who is coughing and sneezing around you. This should be your awareness in any event. We have been known to take an extra dose of Winter Prep if we’ve been in the vicinity of a sneeze as a “just in case”, something I always carry with me!!
3. Wear a mask if directed
This has increased in Australia and will likely be a requirement for international travel when this restarts. There are remedies to support a long period of wearing a mask, which may be an issue for some, and you can contact us personally about this. My colleagues in the USA and Europe have certainly had online discussions on this topic and come up with remedy solutions.
4. Support & educate the system
The formula includes traditional remedies that educate the system about how to behave in relation to some of the winter ailments. It includes Anas Barb (patented by Boiron as Oscillococcinum), which has been the biggest selling influenza remedy in France and has some good research and a long history of traditional use to back it up. It has also been promoted as a support during current times.
This year, in light of the virus, we’ve again tweaked the formula to include a couple of extra remedies that homeopaths around the world were seeing as well indicated support. Some of the remedies in this formula have also seen us through previous incarnation of the virus, so they are going to be good options at this time and through other winters and for travel.
Our recommendation continues to be “support the whole system” and for us this would be Winter 2021 on a weekly basis if you are likely to be mixing with people who are sick or had the “you know what”. If you mix infrequently with other people, take an additional dose before you got out as a just in case, but don’t take more than twice in one week.
Obviously nothing is 100% effective so you are going to have to make sure you are mindful of what is going on around you, particularly if you are getting in the caravan and heading away from home base!
5. Manage symptoms
(In addition to anything you are required to do by law!)
Below is a long list that we compiled over the first months of what was happening overseas. I was going to delete some of the remedies as we are not seeing the severe cases that have presented in some countries, however, I have left them as a useful resource and to keep things in a global context.
6. Review constitutional support for the vulnerable
As at every other time of the year my final point is that if you or someone in your family has an underlying health condition that could benefit with some support and a bit of a tweak, check in with your homeopath to make sure you are doing the best you can. Remember there are many more remedies that practitioners have access to than you will find online, so you’re going to achieve better outcomes with professional support in the longer term.
If you have already had constitutional treatment (ie individualised remedies) then this is likely going to be your best friend. It is ‘your remedy’ and addresses all of you, not just one symptom. Your homeopath may have advised you how to use this remedy if you get sick and I do often advise my patients to use this as well as acute remedies if required.
Do contact your homeopath if your home management is not working and check in with your GP/ED if require. There are many more remedies than those listed here and sometimes an individualised remedy will be needed.
Many of the remedies below are just common cold and flu remedies, so are going to apply for anything that pops up, including “you know what”. This is a longer list than usual based on some of the remedies that have come up over the past year.
Remedies for colds, coughs, flu-like symptoms & first stages of an acute illness
So here are the most frequently indicated, traditionally used, single remedies for colds, flu-like symptoms and the beginning of an acute illness. This is obviously only a very small list and we’ve pared that down to what we consider may fit the current situation at a home prescriber level. With, at the last count, around 5000 remedies to choose from, sometimes someone is going to need a remedy that you’re not familiar with.
Have a read through the list of the most commonly used remedies and pick a remedy that fits what is going on for you or your loved one. Remember . . . not everyone manifests a cold in the same way, so you can’t assume that everyone in the family is going to need the same remedies. This is why combination remedies can be useful as they are a mix of the most commonly indicated remedies. There’s a list of suggestions below the single remedies.
Aconite – Is really the number one remedy for the first stages of a cold, fever, sore throat or similar illness, particularly when symptoms come on suddenly. There may be a lot of sneezing (or not) with pain at the root of the nose, tingly, sore or scratchy throat and dry mucous membranes. Fever may be high, often with chills, and strong thirst. There can be great restlessness, anxiety and/or fear.
Always seek medical advice for fever in a child under 6 months of age.
Allium Cepa – Allium colds starts with hay fever-like symptoms; profuse, watery, burning runny nose, sneezing and watery eyes. Just like when you peel onions! Common feverish cold with streaming eyes and nose. Profuse watery nasal discharge which burns upper lip. Red, running eyes with bland discharge. Headache which may be worse in a warm room. From what we’ve seen this is not typical of the current virus presentation, but there are other acute illnesses doing the rounds as well!
Anas Barb (Oscillococcinum) – Research in France has shown this remedy to have affinities for the types of bugs we are exposed to and which float around, as is the case now. It has traditionally been used by people to avoid picking up everything going around and has a long history of use in flu-like symptoms. It can be taken weekly by all family members as a support remedy.
It can also be taken more frequently (every two hours on day one, then three times a day for three days) at the beginning of an illness to help boost the system, alongside the indicated remedies. Anas Barb is only available in 200c potency and is included in our Winter/Travel Prep combination or available as a single remedy.
Antimonium Tartaricum (Ant Tart) – This remedy may be indicated when the chest feels and sounds full of mucus and breathing makes a bubbly, rattling sound. It’s a very common remedy in small children but also in the elderly with this picture. The cough takes effort and is often not quite strong enough to bring the mucus up, although burping and spitting may help. The person may feel drowsy or dizzy, and feel better when lying on the right side or sitting up.
Arsenicum Album (Ars Alb) – Arsenicum is similar to Allium but the throat burns, the mouth is dry and the patient is weak, restless, tired and often anxious when sick. They may be thirsty for frequent sips of warm or hot drinks and can feel worst around midnight and when alone. They are typically quite anxious when sick. These people have a tendency to catch cold easily and usually have burning, watery nasal discharge alternating with dryness, frequent sneezing and the nostrils become sore and red and the nose feels blocked. They may feel chilly and shivery with the illness. They are usually worse for a change of temperature, cold, damp and around midnight, and better for heat, warm applications and hot drinks.
Belladonna – has traditionally been used for symptoms which come on suddenly with redness, hot, red face or parts and intense throbbing pain. It’s a traditional fever remedy and can be useful particularly in children. There is usually no thirst with the fever (see Aconite) and the patient may be lethargic or even delirious. The individual may be worse for touch, light, noise, being jarred, and at night.
Always seek medical advice for fever in a child under 6 months old.
If you have trouble choosing between Belladonna and Aconite, we suggest trying ABC which is a combination of the three remedies – Aconite, Belladonna, Chamomilla – the most commonly used remedies for a wide range of children’s ailments, but also for commonly seen fever pictures.
Bryonia – has a picture of very dry, often very painful, cough, which may be deep, hard, racking. In some countries this has been the early picture of the virus, so is worth taking note of. The person may feel that mucus (if present) is stuck in the throat and upper chest, and may cough continually to try to loosen it. They are quite likely to be irritable and want to be left alone! A very dry mouth is common and the person may be thirsty.
Calc Carb – Cough can be tickly, worse from lying down or bending forward, worse from getting cold, and worse at night. There may be thick, yellow mucous. Children may have fever, sweaty heads while sleeping, and be fatigued. Adults may feel more chilly and have clammy hands and feet, breathing problems when walking up slopes or climbing stairs, and generally poor stamina. People needing Calc Carb sometimes, but not always, carry some extra weight!
Carbo Veg – Burning runs through the picture, internal burning and external coldness, so cold hands, cold nose, cold knees, etc. There may be a painful, burning head. There is also a picture of weakness and collapse here, so it’s a useful “during” remedy, but a helpful “after” remedy where the person looks or feels like they are in a state of collapse, slow to recover. There may be a blueness present because this remedy is about oxygenation and circulation. They may want to be fanned because they feel like they cannot pull in air. There may be a rawness in the throat, suffocating cough and feeling of weakness from both the cough and generally. A patient presenting with these symptoms should be under the care of a medical practitioner.
Eupatorium Perforatum – Along with Gelsemium (see below) this is one of the big remedies for classic flu-like symptoms, which is how some people have presented in this current situation. They may experience chills followed by heat and sweating. There may be a harsh cough. There is intense aching in the bones (see Gelsemium – aching muscles) and they feel as if broken or bruised. There is great thirst for cold drinks and they may be worse for movement, cold and open air. They may feel better for resting, warmth and for sweating.
Ferrum Phos – Useful for the early signs of a cold or flu-like illness, especially if you have no strong picture and are not sure what to give. Tired, weary, not feeling quite right. Red inflamed eyes, and/or hot, burning, gritty eyes. Chills with shivering and fever with flushed face. TS Acutes (Kali Mur/Ferrum Phos/Nat Mur 6x) is often better in situations where there is accompanying runny nose and in small children. Better for rest and for cold applications.
Gelsemium – This is traditionally thought of as one of the most commonly indicated remedies for flu-like symptoms, particularly when the patient is achy all over. Symptoms may come on slowly over a number of days. The person looks and feels dull and sluggish with heavy looking eyes, a dull headache usually at the back of the neck and a burning throat. They may experience chills and shivering up and down the spine and they may look droopy! If the pains are in the bones (rather than the muscles as with Gelsemium) and accompanied by a harsh cough Eupatorium 30c may be more indicated.
Hepar Sulph – is traditionally indicated for sore throats, with a feeling like a bone or broken glass in the throat. It is useful in well-established coughs which are loose and hacking, with thick, yellow/green mucous. The person is often irritable and chilly, and may cough more when uncovered.
Lycopodium – may present as a tickly cough accompanied by throbbing head, with shortness of breath and fan-like motion of nostrils on inspiration. The patient may be irritable and/or bossy to those around.
Phosphorus – has a major affinity for anything to do with the lungs – loose or dry, irritating coughs, weak chests and so on. Hoarseness may be a feature during or after. The illness generally, and the cough more specifically, may be exhausting, violent, dry and tickly with irritation deep in the throat. It can be triggered by laughing, talking or by change in temperature, for example going from cold air into a warm room. There may be bursting pain in the head, tight painful chest and the pain may spread to the tummy. The patient may hold their head, chest or tummy on coughing. They are likely to be anxious and they always feel better for company. Generally they feel chilly, but want cold drinks and they will usually have a strong thirst when sick. They can be slow to recover from a chest infection or cough.
Pulsatilla – usually has thick, yellow/green bland mucous, a dry mouth but no thirst. All symptoms may be very changeable. These people are often needy, clingy, weepy (particularly in small children) and may feel better for fresh air. Worse in a warm room and after lying down.
Rhus Tox – Very restless with aching in all muscles and stiffness. Cannot get comfortable. Heat alternating with chills, pain in head and eyes, with red face. Sometimes you will see the classic keynote of a red tip on the tongue. Worse at night, for first movement and better for warmth.
Sulphur – This remedy may be indicated when a person has had lots of chesty complaints, sometimes with lots of antibiotics which weakens them further. The cough feels irritating, burning, and painful; yellow or greenish mucus may be produced. They tend to overheat and can feel worse if they get too warm in bed and they will usually have a strong desire for open air. Redness of the eyes and mucous membranes and foul-smelling breath and perspiration are often seen when a person needs this remedy.
Veratrum Album – High fever, with strong, quick pulse, (compare Bell, Acon). Flushed face and dilated pupils, (compare Bell), faint feeling in stomach and violent congestion. Sinking, faint feeling in pit of stomach. Intermitting or hard and rapid pulse. Burning in chest. Sensation of a heavy load on chest. Motion aggravates, sudden motion causes faintness. Lying down aggravates breathing. Coughing, with faint feeling in stomach and violent congestion. Violent cough.
Useful Combination Remedies
TS Acutes (Kali Mur/Ferrum Phos/Nat Mur 6x tissue salts) is familiar to many of you and is a great remedy to use if you suspect someone is “sickening” for something, but you really don’t know what to give. In a reasonably strong system this may be all that’s required to relieve symptoms. It is a good remedy where there is a temperature, clear to white runny nose and sneezing and also good for congestion in the early stages particularly of the ears. This can be a useful remedy in children, but Ferrum Phos is indicated in this current epidemic so it can be used for adults too if the picture fits
Fevers Combination contains those remedies traditionally indicated for the common symptoms of a mild fever associated with a cold, flu-like illness or other acute ailment in adults and children. It includes the main remedies we have seen suggested for this particular situation: Aconite 30c, Arsenicum Album 30c, Belladonna 30c, Bryonia 30c, Ferrum Phos 30c, Gelsemium 30c – all good remedies for a temperature.
Cold & Flu Combination is useful for typical cold or flu-like symptoms if you aren’t sure what to give. It contains the most commonly indicated remedies for the early stages.
Dry Cough & Chesty Cough combinations – are both available. This virus is said to start with a dry cough in some people, so you can use single remedies like Aconite, Bryonia, Spongia, etc if you are confident with your remedies or you could use the Dry Cough combination. Some people are prone to chesty coughs and if you don’t already have a plan from your homeopath (which is always your best support), then this combination might be useful.
Winter Prep or Travel Prep – Don’t forget that these two remedies (which are the same) can be used alongside your chosen acute remedies as additional support. They contain some of the most common remedies for colds, flu-like symptoms and this particular illness. Anas Barb, which is included in this combination, has seen us through SARS and swine flu, and is being recommended again for this particular time.
For congestion, particularly of the sinuses, following a cold or flu-like illness try Congestion Combination.
Our Immune Boost combination (Astragalus, Echinacea, Hydrastis, Olive Leaf Extract all in 30c potency) is an easy-to-take homeopathic form of all of these powerful immune boosting herbs. It is easy to give to children, more palatable than herbs and without the potential risks.
This combination can be taken to support the system in winter. We recommend 3 weeks on and one week off, or five days on and two days off. Continual use of immune boosting herbs or remedies can make the immune system lazy! In an acute situation take 2 or 3 times a day for an extra boost.
Recovery – Respiratory – This little combination has been around a long time but is often overlooked. If you are relying on home prescribing and perhaps naturopathic supplements in addition to GP/hospital treatment, this could be a useful remedy for someone who has been unwell and is slow to recover. It contains some of the remedies that can be helpful at this time.
Our Winter Remedies Kit contains the most commonly indicated and useful remedies for anything to do with winter ailments.
The remedies are also available individually on the website if you wish to add some to your own winter kit. If you prefer to use single remedies, you can buy a Pick Your Own Pack to suit what you’re looking for.
If you go to the Winter & Acute Ailments category in the store, you’ll find a range of other remedies that may be helpful at this time.
How often to take
- If symptoms are not too intense take your chosen remedy 3 or 4 times a day as long as things are improving. If not improving, change your remedy, contact your homeopathy or check in with your GP.
- If symptoms are very intense at the beginning, which can be the case if remedies like Aconite or Belladonna are required for a temperature, you can take your remedy hourly through the first day and then reduce or change the remedy as the picture changes.
For more detailed information on how much and how often to give your remedies, you can read more here.
If someone in the family is having recurrent acute illness or symptoms that linger, they may require an individualised remedy from your homeopath to address the underlying, often inherited, weakness.
Remember if you become symptomatic you must follow health department guidelines. Refer to the health department link above for changing information on this advice.
What else can you do for an acute?
There are all kinds of things which have been recommended, but our study group short list is below. Much of the information has been backed up by studies. I always tend to say not to over-supplement because this can be as bad as too many medications and can challenge an already challenged system.
- It is recommended you use a good quality combination of vitamins A, C, E and Zinc.
- Vitamin C** can be taken in high doses and a powder or liquid is a good way of taking this. Vitamin C helps the body produce more immune-fighting chemicals and reduces the inflammatory response among other things. As a general immune support 2000mg (or 2g) in a day.
- For acute symptoms you can take 1000mg (or 1g) hourly, along with drinking plenty of water. If there is diarrhea or abdominal cramping halve the dose.
- Vitamin D3 is recommended as part of your support plan – at least 2000iu a day, but up to 5000iu per day if you live in Tasmania!! This is a good thing to be taking during the colder, darker months (particularly in more southern cities). Consult your pharmacy or health food shop before taking if you are unsure, if you have any chronic health problem or for children.
- It’s important to exercise to aid circulation, and to get out in the sunshine and fresh air.
- Good nutrition including fresh fruit and vegetables are very important and can be more beneficial than many synthesised vitamins, especially if organic. People who eat large amounts of fruits and vegetables tend to have a high potassium intake which has been shown to support your system in this situation. Remember, a supplement may not be as good. You just need to stay natural.
- Avoid too much sugar, dairy, junk foods, white bread and similar, and wheat products generally if you are sensitive.
- Keep warm – some indications are that keeping the temperature in your home above 16C, particularly through winter is going to be helpful. The virus is said to be more active at lower temperatures.
- Manage a fever – don’t eat if you don’t feel like it, drink plenty of fluids (warm are best), get fresh air and rest. Fever is nature’s way of fighting a virus or other acute illness.
- Anything which increases circulation (eg hydrotherapy) is recommended to keep the system pumping.
- For pain drink a glass of water every half an hour for two hours.
The other stuff you may be looking for relating to “you know what”
We’ve put this bit at the bottom as it’s been in related posts so often in the last 12 months!
At times like this – think SARS, Swine Flu, MERS and so on – homeopaths around the globe get together and share information on what additional support they can offer. This collective information directs us to what is known as the ‘genus epidemicus’ – which is usually a group of a few common remedies that are going to support the largest number of people at this time.
At the original time of writing there was obviously no homeopathic research on managing this particular situation, however, in the past year there have been papers released by homeopathic researchers and practitioners around the globe on support and management with homeopathics and other natural medicines.
All of the homeopathics are traditionally indicated remedies (TGA definition of this is in use more than 75 years) which will have been used over the decades and even into the 19th century, with plenty of information gathered over that time through clinical use and also use in other epidemics.
The basics for any epidemic are always going to be our tried and tested acute remedies with a few additional ones which have been shown to be appropriate at this particular time. In the case of the current situation the genus epidemicus appears to be Arsenicum album and Bryonia, with others also suggesting Carbo Veg, Veratrum Album and Camphora. If you go and read these remedies, you will see that people who need particularly the second three are going to be very sick, possibly in hospital, so your first stage remedies are going to be key. If you’re not familiar with homeopathy then you might be better off using one of the combinations that fit the picture.
Jumping in quickly with some well chosen remedies in any illness can often help reduce the severity and duration and can be used alongside any medications that may be administered.
Obviously if you are unfamiliar with homeopathy but need some support, we advise you to get in touch.
At this stage, guided by the symptom picture we have seen emerge and information from overseas, some of the useful remedies may be as follows:
- Aconite, Belladonna, Ferrum Phos are common first stage remedies in many minor illness, supporting the body if there is a temperature, an indication the body is firing up to begin essential works.
- Arsenicum album 30c, Eupatorium 30c, Gelsemium 30c and Bryonia 30c are commonly used for flu-like symptoms and have a long-established, traditional usage over many years.
- Ant Tart and Ipecac are useful remedies if there is a lot of mucous.
- Arsenicum has also been suggested by many as a remedy to help support the system to avoid onset. This remedy is included in our Winter/Travel Prep 2021 support remedy so you don’t need to take both or you could use it on its own.
- Camphora has also been mentioned for cases in some parts of the world, both as a “just in case” and to assist with symptoms. We are not recommending this over anything else because this may not be the picture we see here in Australia and the remedy needs to fit the picture of what is going on for the individual at the time, but we do have this remedy available in the online store in 200c.
- During these types of epidemics there is always a specific strain-related remedy which can be additionally supportive (our additional “just in case”), particularly for the elderly and vulnerable. This is now included in our Winter/Travel Prep 2021 remedy.
- Anas Barb 200c or Winter/Travel Prep 2021 we have been suggesting taking whichever you prefer on a weekly basis once the season kicks in or travel expands, if you are likely to be at risk.
The biggest point to make is that homeopathy treats the person, not just the symptoms, and in an acute situation like this not everyone is going to need the same remedies, but those mentioned in this post may be indicated.
** Information on Vitamin C from “Bird Flu Virus, Your Personal Survival Guide” by Dr Sandra Cabot
Melanie Creedy originally trained in the UK in the early 1990s and holds a Bachelor of Health Science in Homeopathy. She is registered with the Australian Register of Homoeopaths (AROH) and is a member of the Australian Homoeopathic Association.She was Vice President and Professional Development Coordinator of the Australian Homoeopathic Association from 2011 to 2015 and was editor of the AHA National Newsletter from 2012 to 2020.Melanie has used homeopathy for over 30 years and has been in practice since 1998. For many years she ran The Children’s Ear Clinic in Western Australia, but since her tree change to Tasmania, has a special interest in women’s and children’s health generally and helping individuals manage their journey on the spiritual path with homeopathy and her range of essences. Melanie has developed her own methods of dealing with complex cases over the years and offers distance consultations via phone and video to allow people Australia-wide to access her services.Homeopathy is a traditional medicine. It may be used in conjunction with other medicines. For any ongoing chronic condition, it is important to be assessed or examined by your healthcare professional or specialist. Always seek medical advice in emergencies. The information provided in this blog does not constitute medical advice but is for information only. If in doubt as to the appropriateness of a suggestion or treatment seek advice from your homeopath.