It’s winter. The days are short and the temperatures are low. Oftentimes, it’s too cold to be outside for long, so we tend to congregate indoors for warmer activities. Everyone is having fun until the first time we hear someone sneeze or cough, and then instant panic sets in. Why do runny noses and coughing spells strike fear in our hearts? Because we all know that a simple runny nose or slight cough can lead to a full-blown, all-encompassing, household epidemic. Here are some tips to stay healthy.
Stop Sickness Before It Begins
If you’ve been around for a while, you’ve probably heard someone quote Benjamin Franklin saying “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”. Ironically, Benjamin Franklin was referring to fire safety, but society now refers to this in terms of our health. Today, we try to focus on healthy behaviors in hopes of preventing larger health issues. Popular recommendations include taking vitamins, washing your hands with warm water and soap and avoiding touching your face, especially your eyes, nose and mouth. Along with getting a good night’s sleep and eating a balanced diet many illnesses can be avoided. There are other unique ways, however, to stay healthy this winter and throughout the year.
Unique Methods To Staying Healthy
I’m sure we’ve all heard of unique ways to prevent illness. There are, however, some legit things you can do to help prevent illness all together or, if you’re already sick, to prevent it from getting worse.
- The Neti Pot – The neti pot is a container that is designed to rinse mucus and debris from your nose. It can be used to treat allergy symptoms, colds and sinus problems. The concept is that the saline solution that you use in your neti pot will cleanse your sinus cavities and prevent a build up of allergens and irritants. This is a tried and true method that’s recommended by many doctors.
- Elderberry Syrup – Elderberry syrup has gained even more popularity within the last couple of years as a natural remedy for colds and the flu. It’s best known for being rich in antioxidants and vitamins that support the immune system. Sambucol is a popular elderberry manufacturer, but you can also find other brands of this popular supplement.
- Oscillococcinum – Boiron Oscillococcinum is a popular companion to the black elderberry syrup. It reduces the duration and severity of flu-like symptoms such as fatigue, chills, headache, body aches and fever. It works best when taken at the first indication of flu symptoms. It’s non-drowsy and safe for ages 2 & up.
- Zinc – Since the onset of Cold-Eeze, zinc has also increased in popularity as a means to shorten the duration of colds. Whether taken as lozenges, like Cold-Eeze, or as a nasal spray, such as Zicam, zinc is definitely something you will want in your medicine cabinet when the first signs of a cold hit. Zicam also comes in an oral mist, water mix, nasal swabs, rapid melts and even in elderberry fruit drops (the best of both worlds)!
What To Do If You Get Sick
You’ve done everything you can do, but it happened…you’re sick. It happens to the best of us, regardless of how hard we try to avoid it. Now that you’re sick, your focus will now be on getting better as fast as you can and not taking down family members with you!
- Kill the germs – If you need a garbage can nearby to collect your tissues, make sure there’s a can of Lysol handy to keep killing the germs in, and around, the can and tissue box. Also keep a can in the bathroom and near your bed. Anywhere you’re sneezing, coughing or vomiting should be treated with Lysol.
- Keep it contained – Try to stay in one area of your home. If you travel from your bed to the couch to the recliner to the kitchen table, you are taking your germs with you and depositing them in each place you pause for a rest. I think of Pigpen from the cartoon Peanuts. You’re just spreading germs instead of dust.
- Medicate accordingly – The above-mentioned homeopathic medications are recommended at the onset of illness, but can be continued through the cycle to help shorten the duration. Keep pumping your body full of antioxidants and immune support. If you’re not seeing improvement within a few days using over the counter medicines, be sure to consult your doctor.
- Avoid sugar – Sugar, like alcohol, can cause inflammation and weaken your immune system, actually worsening your cold. Oftentimes, we want high sugar treats like ginger ale and popsicles when we’re under the weather, but they may actually make things worse. Avoiding processed sugary treats may actually help you get better sooner.
- Limit dairy – Dairy can cause your body to create more mucus, so you will want to limit how much you consume to ensure that you do not have excessive mucus production. Excessive mucus leads to more nasal congestion, chest congestion and coughing.
- Watch your caffeine intake – Avoid caffeinated drinks as much as possible when you’re sick because drinks like soda, tea and coffee are all diuretics and they tend to dehydrate your body. This can lead to thicker mucus, weakening your immune system and worsening your symptoms.
- Drink lots of fluids – It’s very important to stay hydrated during your illness. Some of the medicines you take can cause you to be dehydrated. Also, staying hydrated will help loosen up mucus too.
- Rest often – Make sure you are resting. Sleep will help boost your immune system and help you recover more quickly. You may feel unproductive when you’re taking care of yourself, but, in the long run, it’s the best thing you can do for yourself and your family.
Finally, You’re On the Mend
Congratulations, you are on the mend! Hopefully, you were able to feel better quickly. Don’t forget to wash all of your linens to kill any lingering germs. Also, sanitize your resting area, including your mattress. Lysol spray and Lysol wipes are great for ensuring that germs