3 Survival Tips for Cold and Flu Season
To survive cold and flu season, you need all the (natural) help you can get! Every year, people are knocked off their feet for days dealing with debilitating illnesses that are considered “minor” – when they feel far from it!
They’re Coming To Your Neighborhood…Like It or Not!
These nasty microbes are persistent and if you don’t stay on your guard, they’ll have you sweating, coughing, and struggling to remain upright for an entire week.
None of us have time for that!
You can get sick any time of the year but the germs really show their stuff during the fall and winter. It’s a perfect environment. As a result, it’s earned the nickname “cold and flu season” – because this is when most of us are beaten up by them.
Bacteria and viruses love the conditions of our bodies and our homes when it’s colder. After all, we dress in layers to stay warm, our houses are sealed up tight, and we tend to spend less time outdoors.1
Outside we’re bundled up (as the weather necessitates) and end up harboring germs like fugitives as they are sneezed and coughed in our direction. Bacteria hide out, snuggling close in the dry cold (germs breed best and longest around 40 degrees Fahrenheit). Moving from person to person through touch and breath and surfaces.
Then we take them into locations that are dry and warm (homes, offices, restaurants, etc) where we encourage them to really get comfortable. They make themselves at home!
No one ever thinks about the outer layers.
If you’re like most people, you wear the same gloves, scarf, and hats for a while before you wash them. Same goes for your outer coat, hoodie, or cardigan. After all, they don’t get “dirty” in the ten minutes between your front door and your car. You’re wearing clothes under them, right?
We pull them off and drop them on the foyer table or corner chair, where they wait to be picked up on the way out again. In the course of your day, you cover your face with your scarf, pull your hat further over your ears, and touch about a thousand surfaces with your gloves.
How many of you (having only one free hand) have pulled your other glove off with your teeth? Let that sink in for a minute.
Then there’s your house. Toasty, dry, and with all sorts of nooks and crannies perfect to breed militant bacteria for the cold and flu season.
Dry heat or cold means more shedding of skin (a natural process), chapped lips or hands (very common), and the chance that you’re going to be fully covered (in one way or another) for weeks or months at a time. Skin that gets so dry that it flakes is the perfect entry point for germs and bacteria.
Then there are the children in your life…
They don’t notice (or care) about the same things the adults around them do. They easily swap (and fight off) germs with each other that adults succumb to. Kids’ immune systems are almost always stronger (especially if you let your child get dirty like kids are supposed to).
Unless you work in a location with tons of people, animals, or general exposure to a broad range of germs – kids will beat you every time in the germ warfare competition.
Less time spent outside also means less fresh air and less sunshine (or none if you leave in a climate that is dark and/or heavily overcast most of the winter). That drops your own immunity a little more.
Then there’s the food…
A lot of the most beneficial fruits and veggies aren’t available (at least at a rational cost) during certain times of the year to much of the country and the timing is perfect (translated: horrible) for winter illnesses.
Cold weather meals tend to consist of starchy, heavy, stick-to-your-ribs sort of foods. Not getting enough vitamins and minerals through your food brings your body’s immune system down a few more notches.2
Win the Battle Against Cold and Flu Season
You can build your system up now before the germ soldiers lay siege to your entire body. It’s a three-step process that will naturally and effectively protect you and your family.
Survival Tip Step #1 – Fortify the Castle
The castle is your body. You need as many nutrients as you can (and will) handle. If you’re not a person who eats right much of the time, make sure you supplement. Vitamin D3, omega-3, and an effective multi-vitamin are extremely helpful in beefing up security against germs.
Consider adding a powerful shake to your morning routine that gives your body excellent fuel in one shot that you can use throughout the day. This gives you an ideal mix of proteins, vitamins, and minerals to hold off the enemy. Sip water infused with lemon a couple of times a day to keep the nutrients flowing.
Survival Tip Step #2 – Take No Prisoners
Your home and office are breeding grounds so you must make them less appealing. Mix yourself a natural antibacterial spray that doesn’t contain harsh chemicals, antibiotics, or ingredients that will strip your body of necessary moisture.
The best “all over the house” spray is simple to make, inexpensive to produce (by the gallon if you want), and refreshing.
- 32 ounce spray bottle
- 28 ounces filtered water
- 4 tablespoons witch hazel
- 20 drops orange essential oil
- 20 drops lavender essential oil
- 8 drops eucalyptus oil
- 28 drops tea tree oil
Mix all ingredients well and spray on hard surfaces (counters, toilets, doorknobs, and so on) after cleaning normally with soap and water. Allow to air dry.
If you want to use it on fabrics, shake well and test a small spot to make sure it doesn’t discolor the material. Spray it behind appliances and furniture as well because those spaces get stagnant. Also, spiders and other insects hate it as much as microscopic bacteria.
You can spray it on your winter wear between washings (especially at the end of the day so they have time to dry). Pay special attention to your hats, gloves, scarves, and jackets. It kills the germs and makes your layers smell like they’ve just come out of the dryer.
Use caution if you have cats! Felines don’t have the necessary glands required to process essential oils so it can be highly toxic. Treat one room at a time and keep your cats out of it for at least an hour or two (with a fan going) before you let them back into the space.
Survival Tip Step #3 – Keep Fighting
No matter what you do (yes, even those of you who get the flu shot), you still might end up with an outpouring of bodily fluids as you shiver and sweat in misery.3
Consider a nice, strong green tea and then add a tablespoon of honey and a teaspoon of coconut oil (both of which are antibacterial and antiviral) with a heavy squeeze of lemon.
Shower at least once a day (no matter how weak and tired you feel) to wash away the germs being sweated out of your pores. Change your sheets and towels as often as you can and do it all again when you feel better. Spray your space and instead of a standard vaporizer, consider using an essential oil diffuser non-stop until the sickness breaks (again, choose cat-friendly essential oils or keep them out of the room).
While you’re sick…
- Drop the alcohol unless you mix yourself a potent hot toddy before bed.
- Sleep as much as your body demands so it can do necessary repairs.
- Drink fluids until you pop. Flushing your system pushes toxins, bacteria, and viruses out by force and helps your liver, kidneys, and lymph system do their jobs.
- Keep your hands, feet, and lips moisturized at all times to avoid cracked skin that provides easy access for germs
- If you struggle to keep down food, consider broth or juice smoothies. You need to give your body something and these are old standbys that can really make a difference when you’re feeling low.
Cold and flu season doesn’t have to win. If you play your cards right, you just might make it through this winter without being knocked down by nasty germs. so you can spend the time doing what you need and want – not being forced to bed feeling miserable.
Good luck out there!
1 US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: The Flu Season
2The New York Times: Study Shows Why the Flu Likes Winter
3The Washington Times: Flu season is knocking at your door
4Health: 20 Surprising Ways to Prevent Colds and Flu