Sherry Stemper ND

News and Information

Cold and Flu Season
Food Testing

Cold and Flu Season

How can I tell if I have a bacteria or a viral infections?

Bacterial and Viral infections can often be hard to differentiate. For instance you can have bacterial or viral pneumonia or both. The same is true for upper respiratory infections. A sore throat, cough, hoarseness or sinus pain can be caused by bacterial or viral infections.

How can I be sure I have the flu?

Most often the flu will come on quickly, a fever, body aches, fatigue, joint and muscle pain, and lack of appetite are the most common symptoms. The flu virus lives and multiplies primarily in the lungs, even though symptoms are felt throughout the body. Symptoms will usually disappear within 24-48 hours.

How did I get the flu?

The flu is an airborne virus spread through coughing and sneezing. Proper hand washing and covering one’s mouth and nose when sneezing or coughing can help reduce the rate of flu cases.

What should I do if I have the flu?

Get plenty of bed rest, drink plenty of fluids and eat a light tolerated diet.

How will I know if I just have a cold?

A cold will usually cause a gradual increase in congestion, runny nose and cough. Your appetite should be normal and muscle/joint pain should not be present. A cold can make you feel fatigued and postnasal drip can give you an upset stomach. If you develop a temperature or have yellow or green mucus these are signs of infection and you should seek medical treatment. If you have difficulty breathing, pain with breathing or if your chest feels heavy you should also seek medical treatment.

Vomiting and diarrhea

Bouts of vomiting and diarrhea are often incorrectly referred to as the stomach flu. Diarrhea and vomiting are caused by inflammation of the stomach and the intestinal track this is known as gastroenteritis. Symptoms include diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, low-grade fever, abdominal cramps, headache, and malaise. The cause of these symptoms is not always easy to determine. If you find that your family or office seems to be passing these symptoms around chances are that you have a viral infection. Viral gastroenteritis occurs most frequently between September to March and lasts 24-48 hours. Viruses are usually passed from person to person within 16-48 hours.

Bacterial gastroenteritis can occur at any time of the year and includes salmonella, bacillary dysentery, Escherichia coli (E. coli), and the ancient but still thriving Cholera. These infections are often caused by poor hand washing, under cooked meat, shared food preparation surfaces (using the same cutting board to cut up uncooked meat and vegetables) and contaminated water. While antibiotics can help with bacterial infections, generally no drug intervention is necessary with viral gastroenteritis.

The body’s natural defense of excreting the bacterial or viral producing disease produces diarrhea and or vomiting. It is extremely important to keep your body hydrated by drinking water to avoid dehydration. Your body also looses electrolytes during these excretory processes so it is important to replace those with an electrolyte drink such as Recharge or Gatorade. If you are able to tolerate food a BRAT diet of bananas, rice, apples/applesauce and toast may be eaten until your symptoms disappear. If you are unable to eat any food or water seek medical treatment.

To our patients:

If you would like more information on how to prevent and treat viral and bacterial infections please ask.

There are many homeopathic medications available to help with these seasonal health problems. Our office is happy to recommend what you should have on hand. Please not that each patient is an individual and we do not make general recommendations. While homeopathic medications can be purchase at your local health food store we strongly recommend that you enlist the advise of a medical professional before using any medication.

Food Testing

Many of our patients are food tested. Most often a patient has suspected that they have a food allergy and/or has had digestion problems prior to testing. The benefits of making changes to your diet according to the results of your food testing are many. Relief from intestinal pain, bloating, constipation and diarrhea are the expected outcomes for most people. However, diet changes can also improve your energy, skin, and brain function. Patients have also found relief from asthma, headaches, arthritis, menstrual cramping, PMS, hot flashes, and more.

Patients are asked to return with in two to three weeks of starting their new diets. This allows the doctor to determine if any additional support is needed. Additional support can include limiting food amounts, adding digestive aids, or changes in meal preparation.

It is important to follow up your initial food test with another food test within three to four months. This time between testing has given your body time to heal. Your new test results will revel what foods are truly allergy foods and what foods are sensitive foods. Sensitive foods are those that test ok after the three to four month waiting period. Many times these foods are the ones that you may have eaten in large or frequent quantities. These sensitive foods will be added back into your diet slowly, usually by allowing you to consume one serving of each two to three times a week. Your body is still healing and adding back these highly sensitive foods without restrictions can cause your initial symptoms to return. It is recommended that you have your foods tested at least one more time after another three to four month period. If your sensitive foods test ok again they will be added back to your regular diet without restrictions.

Allergy foods are those that remain on your avoid list. These foods are most often removed from your food list permanently. There may be some digestional supplements that would allow you to consume limited quantities of these foods.

There are many people who have seasonal food sensitivities. These people find that a food or food group that had not given them a problem in one season continues to cause them problems in the next season year after year. There are a couple of theories as to why this occurs. People’s metabolism works differently each season as we adjust to temperature, light and seasonal demands. This change in metabolism can increase the ability to use a food in one season and decrease that use in another. The ability to eat locally grown foods is another theory as to why a food easier to digest one season and not the next. The heat of summer can interfere with the body’s ability to digest food. Some people are very heat /cold sensitive and changes in temperature can have a negative effect on their digestive system.

If you have not been food tested you may be happy to know that Dr. Stemper uses a non-invasive method to perform food tests. The entire test lasts about an hour and includes a food chart, diet suggestions and handouts for those who may need additional information to remove or add foods to their new diet. Most people notice a positive change within the first two weeks of a new diet. If you do not feel any better or are having difficulty making diet changes please bring these concerns with you to your two week follow up appointment.

While it may not be necessary for you to be food tested again after your first year as one of our patients it never hurts to check, so please ask during your appointment if a follow up food testing would be beneficial to you.

Communication is a very important part of your treatment. If you have any questions at any time you are encouraged to call.

Contact Us: | Sherry L. Stemper. N.D. 2270 Park Avenue, Bridgeport, Connecticut 06604 | Map it

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