Prevention: A key cold and flu medicine

by Joni Astrup

Associate Editor

Cheryl Larson is a physician assistant whose passion is to keep people healthy so they don’t need to pay her a visit.

When it comes to the cold and flu season, many times a flu shot is very important, but she said people should also think about what they can do to prevent getting sick.

Cheryl Larson
Cheryl Larson

In a presentation Tuesday at Dunn Bros Coffee in Zimmerman, Larson offered these tips:

•Wash hands frequently. Larson recommends avoiding using anything that contains triclosan.

•Sneeze or cough into your elbow, not your hands.

•Avoid touching your eyes or mouth.

•Avoid touching objects in public places. Wipe down shopping carts before using them.

•Avoid close contact with people with cold or flu symptoms.

•Quit smoking and avoid smoke.

•Clean shared surfaces with disinfectant.

•Avoid sharing objects if you or those around you have cold or flu symptoms.

•Try to stay home if you are ill. See a health care provider if your symptoms are not getting better after a week.

She also is an advocate of essential oils and is associated with Young Living Essential Oils.

Essential oils are derived from plants. Larson noted that they date back to Bible times — frankincense and myrrh are mentioned in the Bible — and she believes they have a place in modern medicine.

“We have, in western medicine, avoided utilizing alternative medicine for a long time,” she said. It really wasn’t until the 1980s and 1990s that people began embracing alternative medicine to help stay healthy.

Written records dating to 4500 BC show the use of essential oils, Larson said.

Essential oils were used on the battlefields of WWI after medical personnel ran out of other treatment options. A medical doctor also used essential oils on WWII battlefields when he ran out of antibiotics, she said.

In 1937 a French chemist wrote a book about essential oils after being burned in his lab and rinsing with lavender oil. He is regarded as the pioneer of modern-day use of essential oils, Larson said.

Today, essential oils are in use at some medical facilities, she said.

Essential oils have been particularly heavily researched since the 1990s, she said. A team of two French doctors — one a medical doctor and one a chemist — did extensive research and released a book about 270 essential oils and how they can be used medicinally, she said.