Last year was the first in many years that we stayed healthy all winter (I know, knock on wood). It was also the first winter I had to take a medication that lowered my immune system so I was determined to do everything I could to keep us from getting the common cold or flu, or worse.
I don’t think there’s a silver bullet on this list, I’m convinced it was a combination of practical and healthy choices that helped pave the way for a well winter. Here’s hoping for another one.
We live in a dry climate so I keep several humidifiers on hand to use in the bedrooms every night. It keeps nasal passages moist and healthy (and prevents my kiddos from stuffing their fingers in their nose!) I like this cool mist humidifier so I don’t have to worry about anyone burning their hands on it and it’s inexpensive.
I had only used essential oils for cleaning until last year when I was introduced to OnGuard, an essential oil blend. I started putting it (diluted with coconut oil) on our kids and myself every time we started feeling ill and it absolutely worked. I’m an essential oil convert (I use this kit regularly). This winter, we bought a diffuser and are using it regularly to purify our air and boost our immune system.
I’ve always liked tea but this year I’m trying to drink more black or green tea. Studies at Harvard University found that “people who drank five cups of black tea a day for 2 weeks transformed their immune system T cells into “Hulk cells” that pumped out 10 times more cold and flu virus-fighting interferon — proteins that defend against infection — than did the immune systems of those who didn’t drink black tea. Green tea should work just as well.”
It’s well known that sugar suppresses the immune system which is cruel since we’re devouring sweets from Halloween to Christmas. I’m no pro at this but I did recently quit drinking soda (it was just one a day but still) and my kids donated all their Halloween candy. I’ve found that the less we have in the house, the less I’m tempted to indulge.
When Carnegie Mellon University infected participants in a research study with a common cold virus, those who reported being under stress were twice as likely to get sick.
Stress is unavoidable so I think we all need to find a few ways to help manage it. For me, one of these tend to work: exercise, getting outside in nature, and alone time. Find what works for you, I like these ideas.
Depriving ourselves (and our kids) of necessary sleep lowers our body’s ability to respond to infections. Everyone knows mom doesn’t get a sick day so go with the melatonin that kicks in when it gets dark outside.
Speaking of fingers + noses, I am extra picky about keeping our hands out of our noses and mouths. I’m not typically crazy about keeping germs out of our bodies but I am more cautious during the winter. It also helps to keep a box of tissues in each bedroom and bathroom, along with one in the kitchen.
Beyond the obvious practice of washing hands often, I started using sanitizer whenever I get back in the car from places such as the kid’s school or activities or the grocery store, for example. I use this natural hand sanitizer or I like this DIY version, as well.
Eat to be Well
Several foods are known to boost immunity such as yogurt, oats and garlic. Adding a few of these 10 power foods may be the help we need to stay healthy this winter.
British researchers gave 146 people either a placebo or a garlic extract for 12 weeks; the garlic takers were two-thirds less likely to catch a cold.