Friday, November 26, 2010

Frugal tips for colds and flu

'Tis the season of family gatherings, sharing food, games, gifts and... germs. My poor family got a head start on the last part the previous week, passing the flu from one to the other quicker than you can say 'Get out of the bathroom NOW!' So it's time for a reminder on preventative measures and a couple frugal, natural tips when you catch Aunt Laura's cold or flu anyways.

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure...

Washing your hands frequently(not using antibacterial stuff, by the way- just plain old soap and water) is the best place to start in protecting yourself from the ickies. Add to that getting an adequate amount of sleep, healthy diet, lots of water and keeping your hands away from your face.

Frugal, natural tips when sick:

Handkerchiefs. Give up the Kleenex and I guarantee your nose and your kids' noses will thank you. Cloth handkerchiefs will not only save you money, they will save you from the terrible cracked, chapped and raw condition everyone dreads. You can still find them in men's stores or in the men's section of most big box places. Even more frugal? Making your own from scrap flannel or old t-shirts.

Hot lemonade with honey. This is my favorite thing on a sore throat. Real lemon is great to use but we also mix up some CountryTime Lemonade and do that since it's almost always on hand in our home. You can make it to your liking both in terms of lemonade strength and amount of honey.

Mint tea. Excellent for an upset stomach and better for you than straight water, which can irritate an already irritated tummy. I prefer a strong brew so I use 2 bags at a time or will add a thing of mint to another soothing tea on hand that has a chamomile base or the like.

Neti pot. This could also go under the Prevention section. Many allergy sufferers and people with weak immune systems successfully use the Neti pot on a daily basis. You can also use it when you get any nasal congestion. It takes some getting used to, but you can't beat the results and after a couple of colds that you no longer have to buy meds for, it quickly pays for itself.

Chicken noodle soup. There is truth to the old wive's remedy of chicken soup. Check out a study done here. It's best to try and make it yourself using good ingredients, but let's be straight, if you're the sick one I doubt you'll want to be making it from scratch when all you want to do is lay in bed. My suggestion is to make and freeze ahead. Or call your mom. Or send the spouse to the grocery store and grab a couple cans.

Humidifier. Using a humidifier to aide in congestion relief is another great tool; using one all the time during dry months is also another preventative measure. If your sinuses dry out, there won't be enough of a barrier to prevent those germs from invading your body. Likewise, to keep mucus moving and prevent that congestion from becoming a sinus infection, humid air when sick is very important. A steamy shower or anything liquid that's hot(hot tea, soup) will help, too.

Exercise. Yes, I said exercise. Studies have shown people that exercise are sick less frequently and experience a reduced sick time. Yet another thing that falls under both prevention and remedy! Trust, I don't want to do it, either. But we all know it's very important to squeeze in a half hour of something every day- vigorous cleaning, gardening, walking, biking, etc.

Remember a cold can be a good thing, while supremely irritating, uncomfortable or sometimes even painful, they do help build our immune systems. Try these preventative measures and tips and see if they work for you!

**I am not a medical expert so please contact your doctor for medical advice. I am not liable for what you choose to do or not do.


john said...

Really , your suggestion for safe from flu & cold, i agree with your post, i follow your tips.

Neti Pot

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