Tips To Protect Yourself During Cold and Flu Season

Cold and Flu Season is here. As anyone with a compromised immune system or chronic illness knows, colds and the flu can be catastrophic for our bodies. A compromised immune system means that your body is constantly fighting itself, leaving little manpower to fight viruses and bacterial infections. For those whose body isn’t necessarily compromised, you may be able to more effectively defend against these invaders, but your body will be left reeling from that fight. Prior to “getting sick”, getting a cold or the flu was irritating and disruptive, now, I live in fear of getting anything and the lasting effects it will have on my body. Worst yet, any cold or flu can cause a flare.

Because of (all) this, over the years, I have created my own sort of Cold and Flu Season Survival “System”. In the spirit of giving, here it is:

  1. Masks

I know, I know, I hate wearing masks too. When I first started wearing masks, I felt horribly self-conscious and uncomfortable with people staring.  I had multiple people ask me if I had the Flu and people would avoid me. I realized soon, though, that the importance of protecting myself far surpassed anyone’s stares. To make things fun, I eventually found these masks below, on Amazon:

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The bonus? They can be washed, thereby making them more cost effective than disposable masks and they’re better for the environment. To my delight, I have twice had kids throw tantrums over not being allowed to “pet the kitty”. I far prefer that kids follow me around the store asking to pet me, than have them cowering in fear.

  1. Gloves

I alternate between two types: cheap stretchy gloves and gloves with tech finger tips. I like the cheap stretchy gloves because they can easily be thrown into the washing machine after any germy encounter and they’re inexpensive to replace once they’ve worn down. Although truth be told, I’ve had the same pair for a few years now. The alternative is gloves with “tech” finger tips. The advantage to these is that they can be used on your phone. Either way, skinny gloves allow you to avoid germ fests such as the checkout line at the grocery store and ATM’s.

  1. Hand Wipes

I always keep a package of Sani-Wipes in my pocket book. They come in great to wipe down the handle of shopping carts. According to a Reader’s Digest Study, there are 138,000 total bacteria per square inch on a shopping cart handle. Those odds only further my general distaste for food shopping. I also use these to quickly wipe down my cell phone once I return home.

  1. Don’t Shake Hands

While I try to always be friendly, shaking hands with people is a no-no. If someone does extend their hand, I tell a little white lie and tell them that I’ve been sick recently and wouldn’t want them to catch it. While I normally don’t propose lying, this lie eliminates anyone feeling offended.

  1. Don’t Touch Your Face While Out

Does this one really need much explaining? Some studies estimate that the average person touches their face between 2,000-3,000 times A DAY!! Germs can easily be passed this way by coming into contact with your nose, mouth and eyes. On top of colds and flus, one can also get the dreaded pink eye this way. Try to avoid touching your face until you’ve at least had the opportunity to wash your hands thoroughly. Which brings me to my next rather obvious prevention…..

  1. Wash Your Hands Often

Wash your hands once you arrive home. Make sure you wash your hands for at least 20 seconds. Sing Happy Birthday or your ABC’s to ensure you wash long enough. Anti bacterial soap isn’t necessary to kill germs and recent studies are beginning to find that anti-bacterial soap is actually contributing to antibiotic resistant germs. While soap and water is the preferred method of cleaning your hands, they aren’t always available. In this case, a hand sanitizer comes in great. In an upcoming post, I’ll be highlighting my “can’t live without” Essential Oils and will be including a recipe for an Essential Oil Hand Santizer. Until then, stick with the boring store kind. They may not be as fun as mine, but they’ll still do the trick. I sanitize any time I have to touch anything like a checkout kiosk at the store or door handles.

  1. Change When You Get Home

When going anywhere particularly germy, like the Doctor’s, I come home and change my clothing from top to bottom. While seeing the Doctor is sometimes a evil necessity, you can almost always guarantee that someone there is fighting something contagious.  While at the Hospital last year, I actually had someone sit down right next to me, promptly sneeze (without covering) and then cough right in my direction. I promptly moved away from this person. Years ago, I would have felt rude and would not have moved. These days, I’ve come to realize it is much more rude for someone to cough and sneeze on me, than it is for me to move away from them to guard my health. In this instance, I also came home and showered.

8. Eat and Sleep Properly

It’s almost common sense, so I almost cringe to even list this, but proper sleep and nutrition are super important-not just to overall health, but especially to help prevent and fight colds and flu. If you’re like me and often have difficulty eating anything, stick to the basics. Always drink enough fluids and if only able to manage easy, small things, try an apple with peanut butter, soup, a banana; things that are nutritious but require little to no effort. I’ll be posting about some of my favorite no effort staples soon.

9. Oregano and Thieves

No, I’m not talking about rabbits raiding your herb garden……When all else fails and I feel myself coming down with something, I immediately reach for two of my favorite Essential Oils: Oregano and Thieves. At first sign of anything, I promptly put Oregano and Thieves on the bottoms of my feet.

The primary compound in Oil of Oregano (Carvacol) contains powerful antioxidant, anti-fungal and anti-bacterial components.

Legend has it that during the height of the Bubonic Plague, in 15th Century France, a group of four Brothers were robbing and pillaging the graves of those who died from the Plague. Initially, law enforcement did not pursue the thieves, thinking they would die from the Black Death too, however as the stealing continued and the thieves did not fall off, they finally set out to catch them. It turned out that the grave robbers were actually a group of Brothers, who’s Parents were Botanists. The Brothers, knowing that Essential Oils could fight off illness, covered themselves in a concoction of such. Thieves is typically comprised of Clove, Lemon, Cinnamon, Eucalyptus and Rosemary. If it can ward off the Black Death, I’m all for it!

Here is my favorite:

While here is the link to my favorite Oregano Oil:

I’m not a Clinician, but after years of fighting Chronic Illness and learning what does and does not work, the above tips are what I faithfully use. I hope that my recommendations prove to help you as much as they do my family and I.

Stay Healthy! Much Love and Light~Stacey

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Fighting with Fibro and Living With Purpose. Mom, Wife, Blogger and animal lover. Fighting with Chronic Illness on a minute by minute basis; sometimes winning.

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