September 30, 2018

Hold on to your hats, everyone, because cough and cold season is coming. Yes, my friends, the inconvenient virus is nigh, and it is going to try it’s best to begin an affair with your immune system.

You know, the one where you have a runny or stuffy nose, sore throat, cough, congestion, slight body aches, maybe a headache, low-grade fever and just the feeling of being unwell.

Lucky for you, these are symptoms that can be managed at home with some over-the-counter acetaminophen, ibuprofen, various cough suppressants and chicken soup.

Wait, what? Chicken soup? Wasn’t that an old wives’ tale? Well it turns out there is some truth and science into what Gammy was trying to feed you when you were sick. Chicken soup, a few studies have shown, may have some anti-inflammatory properties that assists with not curing your cold, but remedying some of your uncomfortable symptoms.

Then the hot chicken broth may help with the movement of nasal secretions and easing congestion. And finally, vegetables like garlic, onions and ginger are found to have some anti-viral effect, although these properties are not entirely understood.

Feeding chicken soup to relieve one of upper respiratory symptoms can be dated back as far as the 12th century and can be seen across multiple cultures. In fact, I grew up in a Vietnamese household, and my mom fed me Vietnamese-style chicken soup prepared with ginger and rice. Ahhh, for me, comfort soup at its best.

But what if our symptoms are not alleviated with over-the-counter medications and chicken soup, when should we seek medical attention?

Go to your medical provider should you experience shortness of breath, a severe sore throat, headache or sinus pain, a fever greater than 101 F, a fever lasting five or more days or a fever returning after a fever-free period-of-time.

These can be signs of influenza (have you gotten your flu-shot?), strep throat or even pneumonia. If you do not have a medical provider, or you need a flu shot, we’d be happy to see you at Health West’s Quick Care facility in Chubbuck.

Don’t forget we can take steps to prevent those viruses from spreading. Wash your hands often, don’t touch your face, use tissues, stay away from sick-contacts, and take care of yourself, which includes exercising, not smoking and eating well.

Good luck this cough and cold season, may you stay healthy during this time. But should you succumb to the cold, hit up Gammy for her chicken soup recipe! It’ll help you to a speedy recovery!

Brandi Karroum has been a nurse practitioner with Health West Inc. for almost 5 years. When not at work, she can be seen making friends at the library, looking sweet on the bunny ski hill or giving high-fives to those biking past her on city creek.

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