County experiences uptick in illnesses

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Winter is a season for holidays and

spending time with family, but it can also

be a season of sickness.

Jim Fain, Ph.D., founder of Fain’s Herbacy

in Eureka Springs, said the healthcare

industry has seen an uptick in illnesses this

winter. At the herbacy, he said he and his

staff have seen ailments ranging from upper

respiratory infections to influenza.

“It’s a very long list of symptoms people

have come in with,” Fain said. “We’ve

seen a lot of upper respiratory irritations

from dry air and indoor irritants, such as

dust mites and pollen, because it’s been so

dry. We’ve also seen all the way to fullblown

flu, which includes fever and all the

ugly symptoms that go with it.”

There are many reasons this winter has

been hard on people’s health, he said.

“One reason is that we’ve had dry

weather for a longer period of time, and

we’ve had more winds,” Fain said. “That

pushes up pollen that had settled to the

ground. Some of the cedar trees are actually

pollinating a little early this year, too,

so we have more allergies.”

Winter is also a time of year when people

attend more social events and spend a

lot of time indoors, he said, which helps

colds and other illnesses spread.

“This is the time of the year for colds,

and many people are probably not washing

their hands enough,” he said, “and

eating foods they’re not accustomed to or

eating more than they’re accustomed to.

That causes stress on the body.”

Inadequate sleep and increased tensions

and stress around the holidays also leave

people more susceptible to illness, Fain

said, because these stressors suppress the

body’s immune response.

“Pressured contact with a lot of people

for holiday events can lead to stress,” he

said, “and the opposite is also true. Not

being involved in an event and feeling isolated

can also lead to stress. It can go in

either direction.”

Another reason for the uptick in illness

this winter, he said, was the failure of this

year’s flu vaccine.

“The strains that were covered by the

flu vaccine were mathematically predicted

to occur,” Fain said. “The one that showed

up was Mother Nature fooling us. It came

up from Central and South America and

over into Florida and up that way.”

He continued, “It wasn’t an eastern

strain at all. It came from a different direction,

and we weren’t prepared. They do

mathematic modeling to decide which flu

strains to vaccinate for. This one wasn’t

high on the list, so it wasn’t taken into

consideration.”

Fain said good sleep, good food and lots

of hand washing are the best ways to prevent

illness this winter.

He said his herbacy provides scientifically

supported health supplements, combining

the best of the old ways of treating

illness with the support of modern science.

“Natural products work quite well if

you start early,” Fain said, “and know

what to use and how much to use. We use

information to help people sort through

products and often

recommend against

products as often

as we recommend

them.”

He continued,

“If there’s a medical

overlay, I’ll

say ‘This could be

going on. I recommend

you talk to

your doctor about

it, and, in the meantime,

consider these

supplements,’ because

it can take a

while to get in to

see your doctor.”

For winter ailments

such as the

cold, flu and allergies,

Fain said the

best supplements

would be Vitamin

D, probiotics and

plenty of Vitamin

C.

“People can also

take an immune

booster if they believe

they need it,”

he said.

He said he also

advises people to consider the holistic side

of health, noting that people are far less

likely to get sick if they are happy.

“Even scientific data supports that.

Happy people tend to be healthier,” he

said. “Do what brings you joy, and do as

little of those things that don’t as you can.

If you have to limit things like Facebook

or TV news, then limit those inputs. Treat

yourself well.”

Fain’s Herbacy is located at 99 Spring

St. in Eureka Springs. For more information,

call 479-253-5687.

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