Well, it’s official, winter has well and truly arrived here in the UK. The temperature has plummeted, Trees are bare, and we have endured our first frozen night.
In fact, I love this time of year. The crispness of the days, cosy evenings under blankets with a yummy hot chocolate, heaven!
However, it begins as inevitably as those leaves dropping from the trees. At best, it’s just a cold that leaves us tired, grumpy and the strange feeling that we are trying to swallow a pair of golf balls. If we’re unlucky, it takes us down! High fever, inability to breathe through both nostrils simultaneously and a body that feels like you spent the previous day running into a wall repeatedly.
The average adult gets five cold a year, although our children suffer more with around 7 -10 per year.
In most cases, we can only rely on our immune system to fight off the grubby germs! Conventional medicine 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 condition.
Fear not my fellow infected here is your survival guide!
In the home
- Germs are all around us, and they can’t be avoided, often carried into our house via hands, coughs, and sneezes. One of the most efficient ways to prevent the spread of infection 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 comes the germ busters!
- Wash hands regularly, especially after sneezing, blowing your nose or before eating or preparing food.
- Cover your nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing. Catch it with a tissue and put it straight in the bin. Wash your hands
- Clean and disinfect surfaces regularly such as door handle, taps, tv remotes and game controllers!
For the body
- Slow down! – If possible take the day off put your feet up and recoup
- Increase your vitamin C intake. 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).
- Vitamin D will support your system and help prevent catching a cold in the first place, Sunlight and Fish are excellent sources.
- Ginger helps reduce inflammations, clear congestion and support the 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.
- Echinacea is a herb that contains powerful immune system stimulators. It is said Echinacea can cut the chances of catching a cold by up to 58% and reduces the duration by almost one-and-a-half days!
- Essential oils have antibacterial, antiviral and anti-fungal properties. The oils should never be used neat on the body; use a suitable carrier oil such as Jojoba, great for the skin also.
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 – Epsom salts are an excellent way to detox the body. Run a hot bath, be sure to 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. Soak as long as you like and relax.
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 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
You may feel a shift in pressure after performing sinus massage, and some drainage may occur. Repeat as often as is necessary.
Do you have any tried and tested cold and flu remedies to share?