Okay, not technically. Winter doesn’t begin until December 21st. It’s only the 10th. But you get the point, right?
And everyone (including yours truly) are some-level-of-sick.
I’m tired of it.
Now. Part of mine -a HUGE part- is the dry air. It’s been dry as all hell in this area for a while. Couple that with forced-air heating? Bring on chapped lips, bloody noses, coughs, and generalized ick.
I’m tired of it.
Understanding a big part of the problem, I have to make some changes. I refuse to feel shitty for the next 4+ months because of forced air and cold, dry air.
- Step up the water intake. I know that I’m severely dehydrating. I know this. I haven’t fixed it. And I’ve known it for a while. Not. Cool. Not cool at all, Trix. I know. And I’m the one suffering. So back to drinking more water than I have been. My body (and brain) will catch up within a few days.
- Humidity while I sleep. Look: whether or not you want to admit it, you’re probably a mouth-breather while you sleep. It’s extremely common. It’s easier to breathe through your mouth unconsciously than it is through your nose. And we wind up drying the hell out of ourselves because we’re breathing in all this warm forced air that has no moisture in it. You don’t need an expensive humidifier to add moisture to your air in your sleeping area! A simple bowl of water (changed daily) near your bed will help! It really doesn’t take much.
- Flushing mucus and bacteria areas. I know: sounds gross, but really isn’t. The mucus and saliva areas of your nose and mouth serve several purposes, one being keeping your bacteria levels healthy (yes, you HAVE good bacteria in your body!). A build up of decaying bacteria does NOTHING for your general health or how you feel. A simple hot water steam (fill a sink with HOT water, bend over the sink, cover the area and your head with a towel, breath DEEPLY through both your mouth and nose alternatively) done daily can help to keep these areas flushing themselves. It’s also a simple way to open facial pores for a good cleaning… If you’re in need of something more, a good gargle with warm salt water and a nettie pot can provide a much deeper clearing of these areas.
- Get exercise. No, serious. Increased all-over blood flow helps with overall health! You already know this. Put it into action. Getting 10 minutes of excercise dancing around the kitchen is better than getting zero minutes. Just have fun and get your blood flowing.
- Breathe warm, moist air when you can. If that means that you need to wrap a scarf around your neck and cover your nose and mouth to breathe when you’re out in the cold weather? Then do it. I’d rather look “funny” with a scarf and feel well, than feel like shit trying to look ‘cool’ all the time. (I never look ‘cool’ anyway, so…)
- Take your meds if you get sick. Take them on time! Get enough rest, and extra if you’re ill. See the doctor if the OTC meds don’t work in 3 days OR if your symptoms warrant it sooner.
Things that won’t make my list: hand sanitizer. Flu shots. Increased vitamin C. Here’s why:
Hand sanitizer we over use sanitizer. Our bodies can handle small levels of new-to-us bacteria. In fact? Our bodies NEED to fight these to develop anti-bodies. Anti-bodies keep us healthy. Clean is fabulous. Yes, we need to sanitize after a house-hold bout with the flu or chicken pox. But sanitizing your hands every time you touch something may be overkill. Serious. And if you’ve washed your hands properly (and are not in food service or the medical industry), sanitizing them is unnecessary.
Flu shots- unless you have a weakened immune system or are in a profession such as education or the medical fields (where you’re coming into contact with sick people all the time, which puts extra stress on your immune system), flu shots are probably unnecessary. If you’re relatively healthy, your immune system will fight this year’s flu. Yes, you may wind up ill for 24 hours or so at some point. You may with the flu shot as well! Here’s my thing, personally, with the flu shot: Flu shots are developed years in advance, with GUESSES as to which strain will be prevalent that year. Then they produce a base generic version of the flu strain to fight against. This would be all well and good, except that viruses are unpredictable and they mutate slightly. So…you’re not REALLY protected against the actual virus anyway. The generic and basic version of some flu virus? Yeah. And yes, that may help (again: especially in those with a weakened immune system or a taxed immune system it definitely will!). Or, and hear me out on this one, you can just take care of your body, let it do what it does (which is it’s best to prevent you from dying or even being sick!), and take time to heal if you do wind up ill (most people do NOT take the time needed, get the REST needed, fuel properly, hydrate properly, or take meds long enough when they’re sick!!!).
Increased vitamin C (or a host of other things)- most of us don’t have a handle on what vitamins and minerals we take in anyway. Increasing vitamin C -especially once you’re already sick- doesn’t help much. Your body can only use a certain amount of vitamins and minerals. That which isn’t used is simply expelled…or stored (as something else. Example? Gout. Look it up)…or causes fun stuff like dry skin. Excess vitamin C does the dry skin thing. I know. I (along with a lot of other choir students) ingested WAY more than needed during the weeks prior to solo/ensemble competition each year in an effort to NOT be sick…and we could peel skin off in sheets. While an over-all multivitamin -or even an increase in specific vitamins- may be beneficial to your overall health? Increasing one to insane levels, especially if you’re ill, probably isn’t going to bring those results you want (another fun reason for this is that increasing certain vitamins / minerals means adjusting other parts of our diets and behaviors. Our bodies do this weird thing where it needs things in combinations to work right. Example: calcium isn’t absorbed without a specific ratio of Vitamin D. Vitamin C isn’t absorbed without a specific amount of water. Etc.).
I’m committed to getting healthy and staying that way. I don’t know everything there is to know about my body, but I’m game for learning. I’m also 100% down to do what is truly common sense.
I’m going to go start feeling better.
Because feeling like shit? Totally for the birds.