Ah, Winter! The time when sicknesses of all sorts seem to abound. When you have a large family and a sickness starts it can be a gamble – will it pass through everyone quickly or will it drag out for a month, or will the ones who got it first get it again? So far this winter we haven’t caught any colds, haven’t had the flu or any stomach viruses. Can I get a “Huzzah!” But, you know what? This is par for course. We hardly ever get sick. That’s saying something!
The kids did, however, get pink eye in early October. The first time our family has ever had to deal with that. That’s saying something too, I think!
There are a combination of things we do to stay healthy in cold and flu season.
Eat Your Fruits & Veggies
When you eat healthy you just feel good. A variety of fruits and vegetables provides your body with nutrients and minerals to not only function well but also fight any viruses or bacteria that aren’t supposed to be there. It seems like it’s a lot harder to eat well during the winter. We don’t have the easy access of a garden to pick fresh food from. Instead I have to come up with ways to make sure everyone is eating the good stuff.
We serve two different types of vegetables with lunch and dinner and usually have a salad too. Fruit or green smoothies are served alongside the breakfast pancakes or french toast or crepes. I keep plenty of apples, oranges, and bananas in stock for snacking. Our freezer has bags and bags of frozen berries. Occasionally we make chocolate fruit dip (that also has hidden vegetables) as a treat. We load soups and stews with a lot of vegetables as well.
We also cook and bake from scratch and hardly use any processed food.
Living in the desert of northern Nevada we already fight dry air year round. In the winter the air in our home is even more dry because we crank up the heat. Running humidifiers throughout the house really helps to put moisture in the air. Did you know that keeping indoor humidity at 40-60% reduces the survival of flu viruses on surfaces and in the air compared to lower humidity levels? Who doesn’t want less flu viruses around to infect us?
I have several humidifiers that get used throughout the house. This year I have a new one that is so much quieter than the others I might have to replace the old ones! It’s a * Vicks EasyFill Cool Mist Humidifier. One feature I love is it has a a small compartment for “Vapopads” to provide soothing vapors for those who are sick (menthol pads) or those who are having trouble sleeping (rosemary & lavender). They really do work!
I think humidifiers are one of the often overlooked ways to help your family stay healthy. Air is air, right? I grew up in Florida and Georgia where it was humid most of the time. When I moved to Nevada I could tell a big difference. It really helps to have some moisture in the air! When Abigail and Debra were both three months old they each got sick with both RSV and Pneumonia. I spent three long days with each in the hospital. We stayed in a big metal crib (since they were babies but I was also nursing) with a huge plastic “tent” around us and a humidifier going constantly to keep it nice and moist. The added moisture helped their breathing.
Did you know my dream as a teenager was to major in biotechnology? I had visions of trekking through the Amazon finding the elusive plant that would cure some disease. Plants really are amazing! Every medicine you use began with a plant. Modern science has learned to not only isolate the chemicals found in plants (and some animals) but also create it artificially. That’s how you get the medicine you buy on the shelf at the drug store or the pills you purchase from the pharmacist. Essentials oils also come from plants. An oil is “essential” in that it contains the “essence” of a plant’s fragrance.
I know some people scoff at those who use essential oils. I get it. It CAN be taken too far. It’s definitely not a cure all. As with all medications you must be careful and wise in your use. Moderation is key. We use a blend of essential oils to build our immune system when we feel a cold or sore throat coming on. We don’t use it all the time – only when we begin to feel like we are getting sick. I do think they help!
A great place to purchase essential oils is Rocky Mountain Oils. No middle man, great prices, free shipping, excellent customer service, and you can check the quality of each bottle of essential oils for free. They not only test their oils themselves, they have a third party do it too.
Wash Your Hands
We do a lot of washing of hands at our house. And we go through a lot of soap! You really can’t go wrong with good old hand washing. I prefer washing hands to putting on hand sanitizer. It contains alcohol which dries out our skin even more than washing hands does. Hand sanitizer is saved for the car to put on after errands to the store.
I have Lysol Disinfectant Wipes (a package of three) scheduled to ship to my house every other month as part of my Amazon Subscribe and Save membership. We go through a lot of those too, wiping down door handles and other surfaces trying to kill any viruses or bacteria that have made their way into our home.
Now after sharing what we do to stay healthy in cold and flu season we’ll probably get hit with some nasty bug that will last for over a month. Ha!
* Disclaimer: I received the Vicks EasyFill Cool Mist Humidifier free from Influenster to test. All opinions are my own.