10 Ways to Protect Yourself and Your Family During the Cold and Flu Season
Updated: Oct 27, 2019
It’s no coincidence the cold and flu season proceed Halloween, as 1 tsp of sugar can suppress up to 75% of our immune system for 5 hours. NOOO! No wonder November through February is the "sick season"! Due to Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas and Valentine's we’re consuming more sugar, likely getting less sleep, not exercising as much and not getting as much fresh outdoor air and sunshine as we might otherwise. Research tells us that it's not the cold temperature that make us sick, rather it's the amount of time we spend indoor and in close contact with each other. This means that the flu, coughs, and the common cold are more easily spread.
In addition to getting 7-9 hours of sleep each night (more for kiddos), eating as clean as possible, proper hydration (1/2 your body weight in oz of water each day) and regular exercise, I also recommend the items below for you and your family. *Please note I am NOT medical professional, rather I'm passing along tips that have worked for me and my family. While we could all get the flu tomorrow, beside an occasional cold and 24-hour bug, we have not had the flu or strep throat. We do not get the flu shot and when the common cold, body aches or upper respiratory symptoms show up, I increase our dosage.
1. Wash Your Hands and Sneeze/Cough in your Elbow- I’m not intending to be an alarmist, but have you ever thought how disgusting a grocery store cart or basket handle is, along with door knobs, a gas pump nozzle and credit card machines buttons. GROSS!!! Think about it, we and everyone else on the planet use these daily so of course they are filthy... and it’s no wonder why we get sick. However, something as simple as washing our hands after having been in a public space and using hand sanitizer is especially helpful! Also, when slathering up and wash your hands, it’s been recommended to sing “Happy Birthday” twice. Finally, when sneezing or coughing, rather than sneeze or cough in your hands, try doing so in your elbow. This keeps your germs off of your hands, which is helpful with them germ-passing cycle.
2. Take Warm Epsom Salt Baths - The benefits of relaxing in a warm bath and tossing in some Epsom Salt are plentiful, but for the sake of the cold and flu season, I recommend taking regular Epsom Salt baths (both you and you kiddos) for the benefits of stress reduction and and body relaxation. Why? Because during the cold and flu season our bodies are in fight mode and naturally under stress. When the body is stressed, the magnesium levels decrease and adrenaline levels increase. When Epsom salt is dissolved in warm water, it is absorbed through the skin and increases the level of magnesium in the body. Magnesium helps produce serotonin—a mood-elevating chemical in the brain which creates a calm and relaxing sensation. Studies have shown that magnesium increases energy and stamina by encouraging production of adenosine triphosphate, which is sort of like an energy currency. Bathing in Epsom salt at least three times a week will help you look better, feel better, and provide you with an extra boost of energy. Magnesium lowers the effects of adrenaline and helps reduce irritability while improving sleep patterns and concentration. *Add a couple drops of Lavender Essential Oil to help with relaxation and a great nights rest.
3. A Daily Probiotic- What was once an unknown is now seen regularly on commercials and beyond, and while we all heard of them, the big question is do you take a probiotic and do you take one daily? I began taking daily probiotic over 15 years ago and then when I had babies, I immediately began opening the probiotic capsule and sprinkling in the probiotic in their bottle. Now, at 6 and 8 years old, I have continued this daily ritual and put probiotics in their water bottles, every day. Yes, you can certainly get probiotics from your food, but having the food available or the kids even wanting to eat it is not a given, so I keep it easy and rely on the supplements. I’ve used adequate hydration (cranberry water) and a daily probiotic for the longest and I believe it is one of the main contributors to our good health. Do we occasionally have runny nose and congestion, yes, but by-in-large, we are very healthy….and we do NOT eat perfect (but avoid dairy, gluten, and soy as much as possible). My personal belief is as a result of the probiotics, our guts are extremely healthy and therefore our immune systems are strong and our bodies can fight viruses very well. (I give my children the 30 billion probiotic and split it so they are each getting 15 billion. I take the Daily Women's. My husband takes the Daily Men's.)
4. High Potency Multi-Vitamin- Around 15 years ago and pre-children (when life was all about me) I ate a very clean diet. Out of curiosity I met with a nutritionist and one of her questions was if I took a multivitamin. I responded by telling her how clean and perfectly I ate and she then responded by telling me that regardless of how clean and perfectly I ate, I still needed to take a daily multi-vitamin. Here’s why: While getting all of our vitamins and minerals from our food is ideal, because of soil depletion, the fruits and vegetables grown decades ago were richer in vitamins and minerals than fruits and veggies today. So, taking a high-potency Multivitamins is the perfect back-up that would allow me to get all of the vitamins and minerals I need, stay healthy and keep my immune system supported. We like Metagenics for Adults and Smarty Pants for our children.
5. Sovereign Silver’s Bio-Active Silver Hydrosol™- I have no recollection of how or why I began adding Sovereign Silver to our wellness regime, but this stuff is amazing, as it helps boost the immune system. For preventative measures, we'll all take some each morning, but during cold and flu season, we'll take some in the morning and at night. If we are under the weather and have cold-like symptoms, we'll add more throughout the day. *Sovereign Silver is an effective way to help maintain proper immune function on a daily basis and at times when you need short or long-term immune support. Silver has been used for more than 2,000 years to help safeguard human health. It is a natural element found in whole grains, edible and medicinal mushrooms, mammalian milk, spring water, sea water and tap water.
6. Zinc- The health benefits of zinc include a proper functioning of the immune and digestive systems, controlled diabetes, reduction in stress levels, improved metabolism, and an increased rate of healing for acne and wounds. These are all amazing benefits, but to help support the immune system, I add liquid zinc to our daily water bottles. It’s flavorless and easy.
7. Echinacea- Like all of the other supplements listed above, we take liquid Echinacea on a regular basis, but increase the dosage during cold and flu season, as well as when experiencing cold symptoms. Echinacea is good for all sorts of reasons, but the reason why I add this herb to our wellness regime is because it helps flight infection and decreases inflammation.
8. Black Elderberry- Like Zinc and Echinacea, we use on a regular basis but increase our daily intake this time of year. Elderberry are packed with antioxidants and vitamins that help boost your immune system. Like Echinacea, They can help lesson inflammation, lessen stress, and ease cold and flu symptoms.
9. On Guard Essential Oil (by DoTerra)- This stuff is incredible, and smells like Christmas! It supports healthy immune and respiratory function, protects against environmental and seasonal threats and supports the body's natural antioxidant defenses. If I had not experienced it's magic I would say it's a hoax, but it's not. Simply add drops of the oil to a diffuser (have diffusing throughout your house and near you while you sleep), and apply some to the bottom of your feet where it can be quickly absorbed and you'll be amazed at the healing powers of this magical oil formula. We apply this to the bottom of our feet at bedtime and in the morning, before slipping sock and shoes on. *Oils are most effective when used less, more often vs more, less often
10. Breath Essential Oil (by DoTerra)- When it comes to upper-respiratory discomfort and congestion, cold/flu, allergies, cough or sore throat, Breath is the best! It supports overall respiratory health. Like, On Guard, it can be added to a diffuser (throughout the house and at night while sleeping). You can also rub one drop to front and back of toes, and diluted with fractionated coconut oil to be rubbed on chest and under nose.
Comment and let us know your common cold and flu flighting remedies!
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