“Cold and Flu Information”

Your Flu Season Survival Cheat Sheet

You know it’s flu season when you see 6 people standing in the pharmacy cold/flu aisle, poring over the hundreds of options.  My patients often ask me what to take for what symptoms – so print out and save my Flu Season Survival OTC Cheat Sheet! I hope you NEVER have to use it this winter – but if you do, you’ll be glad to have it.

Plus, read my latest blog on the steps I take every year to keep myself and my family flu-free, published on EmergencyCareForYou.org.

(Click on the smaller Cheat-Sheet icon below for a printable/savable format):

FINAL OTC Flu Safety otc-infographic






Getting the flu after having the flu shot… and other things to know about the flu this year.


I’ve been delinquent!  I haven’t been posting links on this site to the work that I’m writing elsewhere–and I am sorry.  But I’ve called in reinforcements.  Soon, you’ll see a new look to the website as well as more regular publishing of the posts that I’ve written (on DrOz.com as one of his “experts”, on Sharecare.com, for Even Hotels, and other outlets), as well as links to my on-TV appearances.

In the meantime, here’s my latest– you may have heard that this year’s flu vaccine is a bad match for the flu strains that are circulating .  Unfortunately, it’s true.  Fortunately, it doesn’t mean that the vaccine was totally ineffective, and there are other things you can do to keep yourself and your family healthy this flu season.

Read more here:

Flu Myths and Facts


Gotten your flu shot yet? Is it too late? Should pregnant women get the flu shot?

Get your questions answered with my latest NBC appearance by CLICKING HERE

Plus, catch my latest blog piece on the same topic RIGHT HERE.

More Home Remedies (continued from my Dr Oz segment)

After my Dr Oz guest segment last week, I’ve had many viewers ask for more information on home remedies (I’ll choose not to be hurt by the fact that no one EVER actually wants to come see me in the ER 🙂 ).   So I’ve added a couple more below, and will post more in the future.

So, what other home remedies may you already have on hand?

You can click here to watch my clip from Dr Oz, and read below for more!

For a sore throat or cough

You heard me talk about honey on Dr Oz—with the new guidelines advising that all cough and cold medicine NOT be used in children less than 6, I frequently have worried (and exhausted) parents asking me what they CAN use in this age group.  Honey has been shown to be as effective as many over-the-counter cough medications, and is safe in children OLDER than 1 year (never use it in children younger).  Simply give one teaspoon (10grams) of honey before bed, and less coughing and sore throat, without the risk of cough medicine.  (note: honey can be used in adults too—try it!)

Toothache, sore throat, or canker sore in your (or your child’s) mouth? Try Magic Mouthwash!

I didn’t make up that name.  I promise.  But we use this in the ED regularly—especially for infants with mouth sores and tooth pain and it works SO well.  To make it, mix 1 part Maalox and 1 part Children’s Benadryl (make sure that you don’t put any more Benadryl than would be your child’s normal dose per weight, so that if they do swallow it, it’s ok).  If your child is old enough to gargle, then have them do that and spit.  If not, use a tongue depressor or Q-tip (this works for mouth ulcers or sore teeth) and you can “paint” the solution onto wherever it hurts.  It will taste and feel funny at first, but after a few minutes, they will have real pain relief.

For that aching headache

Ok, we’ve all been there.  You have a blasting headache and 3 more hours of work to get done.  Did you know that 100mg of caffeine (about 1-2 cups of coffee) can minimize the pain? (of course, if you have a headache because all you’ve had today is coffee and no water, this is not the remedy—you, my friend, need a big 8-16 ounce glass of H20!).  But if you’re not dehydrated, try this little “cocktail”: 650mg acetaminophen (Tylenol) + Aspirin 81mg (baby aspirin) + 1 cup coffee + 8 ounces of water.  Caffeine has actually been shown to work in multiple types of pain—but seems to be particularly helpful for a headache.

Ladies—skipping your calcium or iron pills because of constipation?

Ok, who wants to talk about constipation….yeah, I get it.  But SO many female patients tell me that they skip their calcium or iron supplements for this reason.  NOT NECESSARY!  Add a magnesium supplement  (about 200-300mg) or better yet, just take a supplement that has calcium + vitamin D + magnesium.  BTW, this is helpful for constipation of any kind.

A caffeine-free alternative to staying awake

A new study found that when people experience the scent of peppermint, they have increased alertness, can stay awake longer, and focus better.  I used to do this in residency, driving home after a 36-hour shift—I’d take 2 of those little Listerine pocket strips at once—yowza.  Remember those “York Peppermint Patty” commercials?  Like a cold blast of wake-up-now!!! breeze.