Winter is here and sometimes the weather is crazy. I hope everyone is staying inside safe and warm. A friend is down with the flu and feeling low. This time of year it’s hard to avoid illness with the weather and flu season. Today I’m looking back at my past suggestions for dealing with the threat of colds and flu and hopefully presenting some new ideas for staying healthy.
First if you are not familiar with the simillarities and differences between COVID and the flu, you should read the CDC’s post, Similarities and Differences between Flu and COVID-19. When I had my mild case of COVID-19 last summer, it started off like my allergies with drainage and sore throat. I was lucky that my vaccination gave me a mild case with a short duration. I do believe in vaccines. As a small child I got plenty of them. I remember getting my small pox vaccination and can still see a small blurred scar on my arm. I lined up with elementary children for several polio vaccines. No one gets small pox or polio now because they beat it. In the 1980’s everyone was terrified by AIDS and the large number of deaths. Now it’s COVID viruses. I have been vaccinated and will get boosters just like I get a flu shot every fall. I hope you have protected your family too.
Now let’s talk about ways to improve our immune system and fight illness this winter.
Eat Your Veggies
Your diet is crucial to living a healthy life. Do your research into the foods that are going to be most beneficial to you and read Buzzfeed’s post on the 26 Most and Least Healthy Vegetables. A healthy-eating organization called Food Day assigned scores to 73 vegetables based on their nutritional content.The top ten for your health include:
Photo Dinner at the Zoo, Hot Spinach Dip
4. Broccoli Rabe
Photo Love and Lemons, Sauteed Broccoli Rabe
6. Brussels Sprouts
7. Green Peas
Photo A Couple Cooks, Farfalle Pasta With Peas, Feta, & Dill
10. Bell Pepper
The most important thing is to ensure that you are eating vegetables. They contain the vitamins and minerals that you need to stay healthy and as such should be a vital part of all your meals. Check out recipes for more plant based meals which are less expensive than a diet heavy in meat and is also connected to a healthier lifestyle. Try to eat a rainbow not only for your health but also great taste.
Fight Colds and Flu
To support your immune system and help keep you healthy, I hope you have elderberry syrup in the pantry. As I wrote before, elderberry syrup has been used for centuries to help prevent illness and decrease length of illness. The syrup is available online and in many stores. To save money, order dried elderberries at online sites like Amazon and make your own syrup. See Elderberry Syrup for more information.
Winter is the perfect time for soups and stews. When you feel weak with a cough, cold, or congestion, chicken soup should be one of your remedies to bounce back fast. It helps clear nasal congestion as well as thin mucus so you can get it out. In addition, research shows chicken soup may have a mild anti-inflammatory effect that can help ease all of your symptoms. Keep a good chicken stock in the freezer or on the shelf to make quick soups with veggies and beans.
Make drinks and food with turmeric and ginger which also support your immune system.
If you get a cough, don’t forget to take a tablespoon of honey throughout the day. It’s been found to be even more effective than cough syrup and is good for you too! See Natural Cough Remedies for more information.
A couple of weeks ago I shared a recipe for Slow Cooker Pineapple Chicken and discussed pineapple’s wonderful health benefits. I keep a can of pineapple tidbits in pineapple juice in the refrigerator. I have a small serving almost daily as a healthy sweet treat. It has made a small difference in my allergies and that is a GOOD thing!
More Fight Your Virus Tips:
- Use herbal teas like peppermint, chamomile
- Up your vitamin C intake.
- Make sure you’re getting plenty of Zinc and Vitamin D
- Gargle with salt water for a sore throat
- Get plenty of rest and sleep. Here are a few tips to get the best sleep!
- Try adding a humidifier to introduce some moisture into the air. It can really help loosen up congestion
- Drink lots of fluids – water, infused water, teas, smoothies, and even coffee
If you want to try medicinal herbs and spices, several are useful in making teas that help coughs. Peppermint is my first choice for a herbal tea for health. It settles upset stomach, enhances your focus and makes you more alert. It also relieves cough and congestion and sweetens bad breath. Use 1 tablespoon fresh mint to a cup of hot water and steep. You can also use peppermint tea bags. Add a teaspoon of honey.
Chamomile is a potent herb with wonderful healing benefits. Brewed chamomile tea is often used as a sleep aid or for digestive distress. It can also soothe a cough, has sedative, anti-inflammatory, and anti-microbial agents to help you get rid of your runny nose and sore throat.
Exercise At Home
Something that you should consider is exercising at home. You might have become accustomed to doing your workout at the gym, but this may no longer be attactive during arctic blasts. It doesn’t matter if you don’t have the fancy equipment in your home, because there are always things that you can do to keep yourself fit and healthy. For example, you can wedge your feet under a chest of drawers to complete sit ups or crunches. Or, you could do your regular push ups on the floor.
If you just can’t tear yourself away from the television, then you should start exercising in front of it. You don’t need to sit on the couch, you could stand up and do some squats as you watch your favorite television program. When it’s time for a commercial break, you could do some running on the spot. Just make sure you get up from that couch and start exercising.
Besides My Power Life’s post on Simple Exercises to Do While Watching Television, check out Fatherly’s article, 30 Minute Body Weight Workout for TV watchers for a different approach.
You could also look at getting an exercise DVD to help you here. They have some great workouts that you can complete at home, without buying expensive equipment to aid you. When the weather allows, don’t forget taking walks or winter sports for fun and exercise.
Practice Healthy Habits Year-Round
It’s always good to practice healthy habits, but that’s especially true when you’re sick. Whether you have the flu or COVID-19, getting proper sleep, exercising, drinking enough water each day, and eating a healthy diet can help keep your whole body working the way it should.
Wash your hands often. Throughout the day, we touch a lot of things—from doorknobs to railings to elevator buttons—which could be spreading germs. Washing your hands often will help prevent you from both catching any virus and spreading it via touch to your family and friends.
Wear a mask when appropriate. I wear mine when I leave home to go in stores. Covering your mouth and nose when you sneeze or cough is not only common courtesy—it can help keep those around you from getting sick. And whether you’re sick or someone else is, keeping your distance and avoiding close contact can help protect you both.
If a serious health problem strikes, seek medical attention quickly. If you aren’t sure about what virus you have, taking a COVID test will answer the question. Use your mask and keep your distance or you can make your whole family ill.
Last but not least stay up to date with your vacinnations and take your medicine that is prescribed. If you were prescribed 10 days of an antibiotic, take all the medicine for the time prescribed. Do not discontinue because you feel better. That’s how drug resistant strains are created. I also believe that keeping a positive attitude can make everything better. We can’t always prevent illness, but we can control our view of life. Laughter is healing. Watch your favorite comedies, listen to your favorite music. ask someone to read you funny stories. For me give me homemade soup and flowers to look at, and my view of the world is warm and cozy.
In conclusion, stay safe and warm during severe winter weather, and I’m sending you warm thoughts for a healthy, happy winter.
Please see my Link Parties page for the parties where this post was shared.