You have family coming, the house needs cleaning, food needs preparing, the kids are home from school, you have gifts to buy—the last thing you need is to get sick! Unfortunately, this time of year is often a perfect storm for getting a cold or the flu. Here is a list of some triggers for getting sick and what you can do to try to prevent that.
It’s cold outside. Well, you can’t change the weather. Or can you? When the air gets cold, the amount of water the air holds drops quite a bit. This makes the air dry. It also will tend to pull moisture out of wherever it is—like your nose! When you nose gets dry, it is easier for viruses to get in and attack your cells and make you sick. Therefore, you need to put more moisture in the air with a humidifier. A whole house one is nice and convenient. If you use a unit, I would place one where you sit the most in your house, and one in the bedroom. Be sure to follow the manufacturer directions for keeping it clean! If you have a humidistat (a device that measures the humidity) it should be set to keep humidity at 30-40% in the winter. The do make small units you can put on your desk at work. Also, you can use saline nasal sprays frequently to keep your nose moist. Remember to drink plenty of fluids during the cold days also!
It’s cold outside. Unless you have a hobby that takes you out of doors in the winter, you are likely spending much of your time indoors. Along with all of your family and friends. Being in enclosed spaces will increase your chance of catching someone else’s cold viruses. Did you know that most viruses are more catchable before you have any symptoms? A few big things to do: wash your hands frequently—pay attention to the nail areas, nooks and crannies. It should take you 30 full seconds to lather and scrub. Try singing the “Happy Birthday to You” song while you wash up. Both the soap and the friction are important to kill germs, however, antibacterial soap isn’t necessary and may be harmful in the long run by causing more bacteria to be resistant to it. If you want to use hand sanitizer, rubbing is important and again, pay attention to the nails! You should also avoid touching your face during cold season to avoid transferring germs from your hands. Finally, wipe off door knobs with disinfectant, or warm soapy water daily if you can. Many germs can live on surfaces for hours! Wash your hands after being in public places, and don’t touch your face until after you have washed up.
You are burning the candle at both ends. The holidays are a busy time of year. It is easy to short yourself on sleep, eating healthy, and exercising. Guess what things make your immune system work the best? Getting good sleep, eating healthy, and exercising!! Try to aim for 6-8 hours of sleep a night. Do not short change yourself here, it really helps keep your body running best. Secondly, try to plan for busy days by making healthy meals at home on the weekends that you can fr