Health Pre-winter colds are everywhere
NNSL (OCT 23/96) - Cough, wheeze, sniffle sniffle, cough. The sounds of people suffering the symptoms of the pre-winter cold are everywhere.

It's still autumn, despite the wee bit of snow, and with fall comes the flu season.

It starts off as a menacing tickle, and then it turns into a full-fledged cold. What to do? Where to turn? In today's market, the possibilities are endless.

Joe Coles, president of Genesis Herbal Products in Yellowknife, swears by herbal remedies.

"I've used them myself for four or five years, and let me tell you, they work," he says.

Among the most popular are chinese cold pills and a flower remedy called echinacea that promises to build the immune system.

He says people call from across the NWT looking for particular herbs. He's building his clientele by word of mouth since he started selling the remedies last December.

"People come in here, grab this stuff and then they're gone," he says.

People are searching out the holistic or alternative treatments even at drug stores.

Daryl Dolynny, a pharmacist at Shopper's Drug Mart, gets some strange requests at the pharmacy for different herbs and roots.

People will bring in mushrooms and ask the pharmacist if it will cure them.

"People who travel abroad will bring in certain vials that we can't even read the labels on," he says. "We're not really trained in this area, but we do our best."

Whether the patient is interested in traditional or alternative medicine, Dolynny says the pharmacist is there to help the patient choose the best product for their symptoms.

"We'll ask the patient to describe their symptoms, you know, describe their cough," he says. "And what ends up happening is some people will even cough on you."

Dolynny says October and November are two of the busiest months for his staff.

"It's one of two major flu times during the year," he says. "When the cold first hits in October and November, it gets busy around here. It depends on how cold the weather is. February and March is another busy period."

He says that the most common mistake people make is to take too many different medications. There are a lot on the market -- something different for every symptom.

"People try to overdue it," he says. "We see people come in and want to take about 50 different products."

But there is no cure for the flu -- only therapeutic treatment of the symptoms.

"People are always looking for that magic form," he says. "The thing is that there isn't one."

He suggests Tylenol for fever. Using it in combination with other products to treat the symptoms is about all that can be done.

For many, getting rid of a cold can be a frustrating waiting game, leaving only after it runs its course.