Is your medicine cabinet ready for fall/winter?

Alternative health expert Bryce Wylde advises that you may want to change how you prepare for cold and cough season

We spend more time indoors during fall and winter, which means everyone in the family is at greater risk for bringing home plenty of germs. The common cold is a leading cause of missed days from school. Parents should brace themselves for cuts, bites, scrapes and other maladies “We buy jackets and decorate our homes for the various holidays. But we often miss another important task this time of year, which is to prepare for sniffles and scrapes by cleaning out and organizing the family medicine cabinet,” suggests alternative health expert Bryce Wylde.  

He advises parents to spend time going through what they already have and restocking with the most effective solutions. “Having remedies handy, exactly when you need them, will help relieve the stress of caring for yourself or a sick child.” 

He advises that you start by doing the following:

  • Choose a cool, dry storage place. “Bathroom cabinets are okay as long as they don’t get warm and steamy during baths and showers. Many products degrade when exposed to humidity and warm temperatures.” 
  • Check expiration dates. “Toss any expired products. Many pharmacies offer safe medication disposal.”  
  • Safely secure all medications and supplements if there are young children in the house. “Lock these products in a high cabinet.” 
  • Carefully review all labels. “Now is a good time to remind yourself of any precautions. Many over-the-counter (OTC) drugs have warnings regarding their use in those who have serious medical conditions such as heart, kidney or liver disease.” 
  • Understand dosing instructions. “Some products for children are dosed by weight or age. Others are not safe or recommended for children.” 

Here’s what Wylde says you might want to include, and avoid, in a medicine cabinet makeover:  

For bruises and muscle strains: “Arnica, available in tablets or gel, is a homeopathic remedy that can be used for treating minor bruises and muscle strains. It can reduce pain and swelling and speed healing. Keep a flexible cold pack handy to manage pain and swelling from an acute minor injury such as a strain or sprain. Ibuprofen can help treat aches and pains.”

For the common cold: According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 22 million school days are lost annually in the United States because of the common cold1. “This year, you may want to stock up on black elderberry. It contains flavonoids called anthocyanins, which have a remarkable ability to stimulate the body’s immune system. Black elderberries have nearly double the amount of anthocyanins than is found in any other fruit. But unfortunately, you won’t find black elderberries at the grocery store. What you will find is a marvelous extract of black elderberry, sold over the counter as Sambucol Gummies. They are great for kids because they are pectin-based, and contain no artificial flavors or colors. They are also free of all major allergies including gluten, nut, soy and dairy. Because this extract is the original and has been scientifically studied, I trust the natural power of the elderberry found in Sambucol to strengthen my patients’ immune systems and use it to help keep my family healthy all year long.”

For dry eyes: “Most of us suffer from dry eyes at one time or another. Overly heated rooms this time of year can be a major culprit. Similisan Dry Eye Easy Mist is an easy-to-use option. Just hold the pocket-sized mister three to four inches away from your face … close your eyes … spray and blink. There’s no dripping, and it won’t smudge makeup. The plant-based liposomes collect on your eyelashes. Each time you blink, they form a moisturizing film over your eye, keeping in moisture. What I like about this formula is that it can be used as often as needed, even by contact lens wearers. There are no harsh chemicals or preservatives.”

For sore throats: “Buckwheat honey is great for managing a sore throat. It contains antioxidants and nutrients that help speed healing. It also lubricates and soothes a sore throat. Buckwheat honey can be given to children age one year and over and is available in most health food stores. Throat sprays with Echinacea, sage and peppermint can also help.”

For eczema/skin rash: “Oatmeal baths can help relieve dry, itchy skin. Add 2 cups of ground colloidal oatmeal (not breakfast oatmeal) to a tub of warm water (hot water can further dry out and irritate skin). Then apply a moisturizer with soothing and hydrating ingredients such as vitamin E, aloe and lavender.”

For nausea, upset stomach: “Studies show that the very potent anti-inflammatory compounds called gingerols found in ginger can help relieve motion sickness, dizziness, nausea and gas, and soothe the intestinal tract. You can find supplemental ginger in chewables and gummies in pharmacies and health food stores.”

With these products readily available, you may be able to resolve many of your family’s typical health issues quickly and easily. 

Bryce Wylde BSc (hons), DHMHS is a leading health expert specializing in integrative and functional medicine, homeopathy, clinical nutrition, and supplementation. As associate medical director at P3 Health in Toronto, and director of My Health Report, he blends the latest in science and technology with traditional and ancient remedies. Wylde is the author of three national best-selling books, previous host of CTV’s Wylde on Health, and regular guest health expert and medical advisor on “The Doctor Oz” show.

Editor’s note: last edit September, 2021