Well, it’s official! Winter has well and truly arrived, cold & flu season is upon us.
The temperature here has plummeted. Trees are bare, and we have endured our first frozen night. I love this time of year. The crispness of the days, cosy evenings under blankets with a yummy hot chocolate, heaven! Unfortunately, there is one drawback to all this loveliness, the Cold and flu germs you can’t avoid!
It begins as inevitably as the leaves dropping from the trees. At best, it’s just a cold that leaves you tired, grumpy and feeling like you’re trying to swallow a pair of golf balls.
If you’re unlucky, it takes you down! High fever, inability to breathe through both nostrils simultaneously and a body that feels like you spent the night running into a wall repeatedly.
The average adult gets five colds a year, but children suffer more, with around 7 -10 per year. In most cases, you can only rely on your immune system to fight off those grubby cold and flu germs!
Traditional medicines can provide some relief from symptoms, but they can’t kill the virus once it takes hold. Of course, the best way to fight back is to be prepared and ensure your body is in its best germ-fighting shape.
Fear not my fellow infected here’s your cold and flu survival guide!
In the home
- Germs are all around you; they can’t be avoided. They’re carried into your house via hands, coughs, and sneezes. One of the most effective ways to prevent the spread of cold and flu is through good hygiene practices. If you need some inspiration check out this article over at Dettol”s site, bleugh that’s motivation enough.
Move over Ghostbusters here come the germ busters!
- Wash your hands regularly, especially after sneezing, blowing your nose, before eating or preparing food.
- Make sure you cover your nose and mouth when you cough or sneeze, catch it with a tissue and put it straight in the bin. Then wash your hands.
- Clean and disinfect door handle, taps, tv remotes and game controllers regularly.
For the body
- Slow down! – If possible take the day off put your feet up and recoup.
Long known to support the immune system to help fight off colds Vitamin C is found in foods like Oranges, Kiwis, Lemons and dark leafy greens such as Kale and Spinach. Around 500- 2000 milligrammes every two hours is recommended. (If you decide to use supplements be sure to check with your doctor or pharmacist first).
- will support your system and help prevent catching a cold in the first place, Sunlight and Fish are excellent sources.
- Ginger helps to reduce inflammation, clear congestion and support your immune system. Drink 2-3 cups ginger tea per day, freshly ground ginger steeped in hot water is best.
- Honey is full of antioxidants and has antiviral and antibacterial properties. Honey is also great for soothing sore throats, add some lemon for an extra vitamin C kick.
- Freshly made chicken soup is easy to swallow and digest when you’re not up to much and lose your appetite. Chicken is also claimed to be antiviral and have anti-inflammatory properties.
- is a herb that contains powerful immune system stimulators. Echinacea is said to cut the chances of catching a cold by up to 58%. Taking Echinacea can reduce the duration of your cold and flu by almost one-and-a-half days!
- Essential oils have antibacterial, antiviral and anti-fungal properties. Never use essential oils neat on your body; use a suitable carrier oil such as Jojoba, which is excellent for the skin as well.
Some great oils to try:
- Tea Tree– The best germ killing all-rounder.
- Lavender– Gentle enough for use on children. Aids sleep and relaxation, 1-2 drops on your pillow at night should help you sleep well
- Eucalyptus– Decongestant best utilised in a steam inhalation.
- Detox Bath – are great for soothing aching muscles. Run a hot bath, keep all the doors and windows closed (to keep the steam in)! Add 2-3 tablespoons of salts. 3-4 drops of Eucalyptus oil and 3-4 drops of Lavender and soak as long as you like.
Give yourself a massage!
Sinus massage is super for relieving pain, loosening and draining blocked nasal passages. Facial sinus massage uses pressure applied to the face using fingers.
Here’s how: Repeat each movement three times.
- Using your ring finger, apply enough pressure as is comfortable to the Frontal sinuses (start at the indentations either side of the bridge of your nose.) Sweep fingers in a circular motion outwards gently just over bones around your eye socket.
- Now with your thumbs. Place one thumb either side of your nose side on, just under the eyes over the cheekbones (Maxillary sinuses). Press firmly and slide slowly out towards the temple.
- Repeat this action, but this time move thumbs one finger width across at a time and press applying moderate pressure; This will probably feel a little uncomfortable but shouldn’t be painful.
- Repeat step 1
- Now with your index, middle and ring finger; press firmly down with each finger and make a scooping action either side of your nose drain (sweep outwards) across and up towards the temples.
- Apply pressure with four fingers just above eyebrows and make small circles in one spot.
- Drain out towards temples
- Repeat step 1 and circle temples lightly
Alternatively, you could watch YouTube Tube video from Rehab My Patient!
You may feel a shift in pressure after performing sinus massage, and some drainage may occur. Repeat as often as is necessary.
Prepare yourself by treating yourself well
No matter how hard you try, it’s almost impossible to avoid catching something throughout the winter months. Whether it’s from the kids, people you work with or just standing in line at Tesco, people everywhere are coughing and spluttering all over the place!
The trick is to prepare yourself by keeping your body in tip-top condition by following some basic rules.
Eat healthily; you need to make healthy food choices for body and mind, remember your five a day!
Practise basic hygiene for yourself and all the family, make time to relax, recover and practise some self-care if you do find yourself feeling under the weather. Allowing yourself to rest will give your body a chance to do its job and fix you faster than if you’re still exhausting yourself by doing all-the-things!
Do you have any tried and tested cold and flu remedies to share?