Over the past several years the winter season here in the North East area of the United States has been somewhat sporadic compared to 20 years ago when it was more consistent. Often it is cold one week, rainy the next, warm over the weekend and snowing, the following week! With all this weather changing we are even more susceptible to colds and flu.
I’m not in the demographic that is strongly recommended to get an annual flu shot, so I rarely do. If you do fit the categories for age, situation and immunity, it’s probably a good idea to have one annually. Fortunately I haven’t had any very bad illness over the past couple of years. Part of that I attribute to some of the latest breakthrough remedies and practicing good habits during the cold season.
Some people claim it does nothing for them, but Airborne, the homeopathy remedy invented by a school teacher who was constantly getting sick from being around her small kids, works wonders for me. I keep it on hand during the winter season, both at work and at home. I take it at the first signs that some respiratory illness may be a mist, or if I am going somewhere where there will be crowds or if I’m around other people who are sick. If someone at work mentions there’s a cold passing among their family members, that’s a signal for me to take some.
If I’ve waited too long to take the Airborne and already got the cold, I’ll usually take these lozenges to help dry it up faster.
I also tend to naturally drink more tea during the colder months. Hot tea warms me, keeps me full and is high in antioxidants. Green tea especially has beneficial properties good for your health. This can also be a highly stressful season, with stress weakening your immune system. A cup of hot chamomile tea can be calming as well as beneficial.
I’m very bad in consistently taking any kind of pill or medicine, but I try for as long as I can keep it up. I will purchase an immune system defensive multivitamin high in zinc and vitamin C or look for these in some of the teas I drink.
Think twice before indulging in foods set out at gatherings. Be conscious of the ingredients and how long it’s been sitting out. Ask if there’s a possibility they contain something you’re allergic to. Be cautious of home made dishes from someone who has pets at home. I personally have a large selection of furry friends and I’m fearful bringing in something with a hair in it that may have floated through the air. I normally opt for bringing in something store bought and already sealed to avoid this possibility, even though I love to bake.
Another thing to consider is your alcoholic intake. If you’ve had a heavy night of drinking, be sure and drink plenty of water the next day to re-hydrate yourself.
Extra touching: handshaking, hugging, kissing and exchanging takes place this time of year. Keep tissues on hand as well as hand sanitizer. Wash your hands with soap and water often.
I work retail and do lots of exchanging of money and credit cards; I get exposure to different people throughout the day and handle the same merchandise that many other people may have touched. Equipment applies also. Several sales people throughout the day touch cash registers. We like to keep hand sanitizer at the register to use often. I also keep it at my desk, in my purse, and in my car. It’s pretty inexpensive to purchase hand sanitizer at a dollar store or Wal-Mart, and its practical to make your own. Granted, some research has disputed the value of waterless hand sanitizer, some say it even increases the amount of germs on your hands. Personally, I like to use it because mentally I feel like its helping and gives me a sense of cleanliness, however misguided it may be.
Natural Oils as Hand Sanitizer
Natural essential oils such as Calendula, lavender, tea tree, chamomile and lemon are said to have germ-killing properties and are a green solution to harsh store bought hand gels that contain skin-drying alcohol. Add from 1 to 6 drops of any one of these to ½ cup of aloe vera gel to make your own sanitizer.
Use Your Own Pen
Finally, one of the best tips I’ve heard as of late came from a customer on my part time job. She made a purchase by credit card and insisted on using her own pen to sign her receipt. She said someone had mentioned that being a good practice to follow rather than using the pen kept at the register and handled by many people throughout the day. I thought this was an excellent idea, but I decided not to point out to her that she had just handed me her credit card, not thinking that I was still passing germs on to her from everything I had touched!