Are you worried about your family getting sick...again?
The cold and flu season hits hard in the winter because colder temperatures + shorter days + educational and work schedules all combine to drive people into more crowded indoor conditions. Cold temps & cooler bodies help viruses to flourish and naturally, we generously share germs with each other in indoor settings. Spring and summer temperatures that encourage us to open windows and go outside. Even school schedules and summer vacations separate us more than in the winter.
When we get sick, we don’t eat or sleep well. Fever dehydrates us. We are tired because much of our energy is being siphoned off to valiantly battle the germs. It physically drains us! In this state, you are already more vulnerable and looking pretty attractive to whatever cootie comes next…
So how did you prepare for the marathon of cold and flu season?
- Do you go to bed early? Are you eating fresh foods (versus processed, nutrient-poor foods)?
- Are you exercising regularly?
- Are you hydrating well?
- Do you bite your nails?
- Do you pick or rub your nose or eyes?
If any of these basics ring an alarm for you, you’re already at risk for catching the next virus that finds you at work, school or the grocery store.
So let’s talk about what you can do to stay well!
- Eat fresh fruits and vegetables packed with nutrients.
- Get checked for anemia or other deficiencies.
- Choose a daycare or pre-school with meticulous cleaning and disinfecting practices.
- Don’t share pens, keyboards, phones and wipe down work areas often.
- Stay away from coughing and sniffling friends. They often claim to have allergies, but many are unknowingly broadcasting viruses.
- Stay hydrated!
- Get extra sleep! (Turn off that TV or phone in your child’s room.)
And lastly, and perhaps most importantly….
- Wash your hands more frequently and keep your hands away from your face!
If you have been sick recently, remember to drink plenty of water. If you have had vomiting or diarrhea, your electrolytes are probably low, contributing to your weakness. Consider electrolyte beverages, warm chicken broth, bananas or orange juice to recharge. Additionally, hot baths or showers, saltwater gargling & nasal rinsing and herbal tea with fresh lemon and honey have been dependable treatments for generations. If you are beginning to feel ill and are feeling tired, get extra sleep! That feeling is your body begging you not to waste energy. Your energy is desperately needed for both immunity and healing.
I wish there was a magic supplement that prevented or cured colds. I suspect if there were, the inventor would be tripping over piles of Nobel prizes. In the meantime, us regular people have to survive the season. Flu vaccination, breastfeeding, daycare, office and school infection control policies and knowing when to see the doctor are all related topics for discussion.
Good luck and good handwashing! (And hang in there…spring is coming.)
Mark D Statler MD
New Braunfels Pediatric Associates