Helpful hints for staying healthy this winter

Winter is a great for being active outdoors, but it’s hard to enjoy yourself when you’re sick in bed. So that you don't miss out on any fun this year, here are some tips to help boost your body's ability to fight infection and reduce your risk of getting sick.

Helpful hints for staying healthy this winter

To stay warm

If you live in a colder part of the country, staying warm should be a priority during the winter months: although you can't actually catch a cold from being cold, getting chilled can weaken your immune system. Here are some tips for staying warm when the temperature dips.

Aerobic exercise
Partaking in aerobic exercise is an excellent way of providing internal central heating because you'll feel warm long after you've stopped moving.

  • Make sure you wrap up well afterwards to conserve the benefit from your exertion.

Wear a hat
You lose most of your body heat through your head, so choose a hat that you can pull over your ears – preferably one made from a natural fabric, such as lambswool.

  • If you dread "hat hair," at the very least wear earmuffs or a headband to protect your ears.

Eat small meals
You can raise your body's metabolism by eating small meals throughout the day, rather than two or three large ones.

  • Eating small meals also helps to control blood sugar levels, if that's also a concern.

Scrub while showering
Rub your arms and legs with a loofah when you're showering and cover up well afterwards.

  • The extra exertion should warm you for several hours.

Massage your feet
You can always massage cold feet with a warming mix of 15 mL (1 tsp.) of olive oil and three drops each of rosemary and black pepper essential oils.

  • Rubbing the skin draws blood nearer to the surface. In turn, this has a "warming" effect.
  • If you have diabetes and cold feet is an issue, check with your doctor to see if massage is advisable or should be avoided.

To fight coughs and colds

The next time you get a cold, avoid using over-the-counter decongestants, nose drops and sprays too often. They can potentially damage the delicate lining of your nose. Instead, give these gentler approaches a try.

Sip some cordial
At the first sign of a dry tickle in the back of your throat, sip warm blackcurrant cordial.

  • Cordial can soothe a sore throat and provides extra vitamin C, which helps your body to fight infection.

Check your meds
If you suddenly develop a sore throat, but experience no other symptoms of a cold or flu, check your prescription drugs with your doctor or pharmacist.

  • Some drugs, including blood pressure and thyroid medications, can cause sore throats because they have dehydrating properties.

Take vitamin C
Vitamin C may help shorten the duration of a cold because of its ability to boost the immune system by encouraging the body to produce germ-fighting antibodies.

Get plenty of rest
Ensure you get sufficient rest so you don't compromise your immune system and become even sicker.

  • Fatigue weakens your immune response and leaves you open to becoming ill more easily.

Have some chicken soup
Treat yourself to some hearty, old-fashioned homemade chicken soup.

  • This long-time folk remedy has been known to unclog sinuses and is believed to reduce the severity of certain cold symptoms.

Inhale some steam
Another trick is to put hot water and three drops of peppermint oil into a large bowl, hold your head above it and drape a towel over your head to create a tent.

  • Inhale the steam rising from the bowl. The warmth and moisture can help to clear your sinuses.
  • Never inhale hot steam directly from above a boiling kettle or a hot pot with boiling water. Steam can be hot enough to cause burns and/or scalds.

Drink lots of fluids
Consume plenty of fluids, especially if you have a fever.

  • Try diluted carrot or apple juice, but avoid milk. Natural therapists believe dairy products stimulate the production of excess mucus.
  • Tea is also helpful, but don't overdo it. Tea is a natural diuretic.
  • Water is always the best choice to stay hydrated,

Unstuff your nose
You can help clear your stuffed-up nose and get a better night's sleep with this blend:

  • Add 15 mL (1 tsp.) of whisky,  juice from half a lemon and a little honey to hot chamomile tea. (N.B.: This remedy is intended for adults only! Don't drink any more alcohol than this, as it may stress your system.)

Bathe your feet
Prepare an old-fashioned mustard foot bath.

  • Add 10 mL (2 tsp.) of mustard powder to 1 L (8 cups) of hot water and soak your feet in it. Doing so is believed to draw blood down to your feet, thereby relieving congestion in your head and lungs.

Swig warm water
Sip warm water with a squeeze of lemon juice to help ease congestion.

  • The warmth of the warm water is soothing and may help loosen mucus in the lungs.

Ask for a back massage
A back massage can help to break up congestion. What's more, it's very comforting when you're feeling miserable.

Don't let a cough or cold slow you down during the winter – instead, stay warm, boost your immune system and have some wintery fun!

The material on this website is provided for entertainment, informational and educational purposes only and should never act as a substitute to the advice of an applicable professional. Use of this website is subject to our terms of use and privacy policy.
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