I don’t know about you, however this winter’s cold chilly weather has bought a lot of sickness into our family. The whole deal: fevers, sore throats, ear infections, coughs, congestion, aches…
Recently our entire household came down with a nasty virus – although I would call my husband’s a case of: the man flu.
It has taken several weeks before everyone under my roof has stopped sniffing, coughing, and wheezing.
For the first time, we are all healthy – touch wood – and I am determined for it to stay this way.
For this week’s Mojo Maker, I am sharing my top tricks for staying healthy for the rest of winter, with some simple strategies to implement at the first sign of a loved one’s cold or flu symptom – lesson learned a little late for me, but as they say better late than never!
1. Disinfect ASAP.
Germs can live on surfaces for up to 24 hours. Yuck!
To prevent a nasty reinfection cycle, wipe down all surfaces in the house where germs can live, including telephones, computer keyboards, and counter surfaces, with a disinfectant.
Also, be sure to wash utensils thoroughly to help prevent spreading germs from one person to another.
At the first sign that something is going around it is a good idea to strip the sheets, pillows, and towels in the house.
Wash with a hot water cycle so the germs don’t keep circulating each time they lay down to rest. Which, if they are really down for the count, will be often.
If you have been sick or are coming down with a sickness you should also consider throwing out your current toothbrush and getting another when you’re fully recovered. They harbor hundreds of yucky germs.
2. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate.
Hydration is key to prevent getting sick and when you’re fighting off an illness. Water is an obvious choice, and it’s good to have everyone drink a small cup or two as often as they’ll take it.
I combine water, ice cubes, a scoop of BioCeauticals Ultra Potent-C Powder, and a few drops of BioCeauticals Zinc – and the kids think it is orange juice. They continue to ask for it even when winter is over!
3. Eat Well
During the winter months you can take extra vitamins (vitamin C, zinc, echinacea, olive leaf, andrographis) to boost your vitamin and mineral intake.
But there’s no better way than fresh veggies and fruit, to get the vital nutrients that your body needs to stay healthy and fight off infection.
When it comes to your diet, variety is key. Try to have several different colors represented on your plate and throw some nuts into the mix as well.
Foods like oranges, kiwi, pineapple, and colorful peppers are packed with vitamin C, which helps your body produce infection-fighting antibodies.
Other nutrients that support immunity, include vitamin E, found in whole grains; selenium, found in many plant and animal foods (levels vary depending on selenium levels in the soil); and zinc, contained in foods ranging from whole wheat bread to lean meats, milk, and yogurt.
4. Essential Oils
I love essential oils for a whole variety of health reasons and there are some great oil blends that are antiviral and help to alleviate symptoms such as sore throat, headaches, or chest colds.
Diffusing, inhaling, or applying your essential oils topically can offer immense relief.
Oils such as oregano, eucalyptus, and peppermint will reduce the number of germs in your home as well as freshen up the air.
I use the following DoTerra Essential Oils (I believe to be the purest in the market place):
- OnGuard: Helps ward off colds and for the past week or so it has been working a treat for my family!
- Peppermint: Relief for headaches stemming from congestion
- Eucalyptus: Works as a decongestant, soothing respiratory issues
- Oregano: An antibacterial solution that wards off sinus infections
- Lemon: Works as a detoxifying agent for congestion and tastes great in your first water of the day
- Lavender: Has anti-inflammatory properties that helps with sinus pain and headaches – a drop or two on your pillow should do the trick
5. Wash your hands – a lot!
This may seem obvious, but it couldn’t be more important. While most people know they should wash their hands, a recent study shows only 50% of women do before leaving the bathroom, and the numbers are worse for men.
Wash your hands regularly throughout the day. Regardless of what anyone tells you, it’s one of the best methods for preventing infection.
Encourage your family to wash their hands with soap and water after they sneeze, cough, or use the bathroom, and always before they eat.
Give your kids a hand sanitizer (we use Therese Ker’s organic brand, Divine, which contains Aloe Vera, Rooibos Tea combined with pure essential oils) to use frequently throughout the school day.
No matter how much you wash your hands, avoid touching your eyes and nose as much as possible. Touching the face transmits any germs on the hand, and also transmits germs from the eyes and nose to anything else they touch.
If your child needs to touch or rub his eyes or nose, tell him to use a tissue. Achew!
Whether it’s from unhealthy foods, viruses, or our bodies just being worn down, one way to regenerate from the inside out is to detox. And one easy way to do this, that is actually appealing when you’re in recovery, or preventing getting sick, is a detox bath.
They tend to make you drowsy so giving the kids or yourself a detox bath before bed is a soothing way to start the evening.
I have 2-3 Epsom salt baths a week during winter and include a few drops of essential oils, usually lavender and frankincense. This bath detoxes the body, improves circulation, reduces stress, and also relieves inflammation. Plus it gives you some much desired alone ME time!
7. Rest, relax, and release
I know it’s often a funny joke to say that a busy mom should lay down and rest, but it is actually essential in winter. Like some animals do, it is time to hibernate and abandon your normal busy schedules and routines and spend more time sleeping, resting, and nurturing yourself.
If the kids need to lay on the couch under the covers and waste the day away with Disney movies, don’t let yourself feel guilty.
Desperate times call for desperate measures!
You can even create a night. We have ‘Friday Family Movie Night’ – which is now the highlight of my week!!
And if you implement all of the above and still get sick, tuck yourself up in bed, and under the covers with an electric blanket or hot water bottle and sleep…. Oh and try this natural remedy.
The Throat Soother (anti-viral, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal)
2 tablespoons organic coconut oil
2 tablespoons raw honey
5cm piece of ginger minced
1 teaspoon organic ground cinnamon
Instructions: mix with the coconut oil, ground cinnamon, ginger, and raw honey together until a paste forms. Eat the goodness throughout the day and soothe the throat!