How to stay healthy in fall and winter
Your first country might not have a winter like Canada. Canadian winters are cold and windy but that’s not the only problem – this is also the time when people get sick with cold and flu. Cold is similar to flu but there are two differences: flu comes with high fever and all-body pain. Basically, flu is worse.
The good news is, many people know how to stay healthy in winter. There are several simple steps you can take to stay strong.
1. Get 7 or 8 hours of sleep every day. This is important because your body repairs itself during sleep.
2. Reduce sugar. Too much sugar makes your immune system weak. Enjoy fruits, honey, maple syrup, agave syrup or use stevia extract as a calorie-free sweetener.
3. Wash your hands. Washing your hands prevents colds and flu better than a flu shot! Rub your hands against each other and wash for 10-15 seconds minimum. When in a public place (for example, on a bus or subway), do not touch your eyes and your mouth with your hands. Avoid antibacterial soaps because they kill both bad and good bacteria.
4. Eat garlic. Raw garlic contains ‘allicin’ which works like antibiotic. If you have to work face-to-face with clients, don’t eat raw garlic before that – eat it in the evening or on the weekend.
5. Exercise. Your body gets weaker without exercise. 30 minutes a day is recommended for adults.
6. Take oregano oil. 1 – 3 drops a day keeps the doctor away 🙂 It acts as a natural antibiotic and is very effective. You can get it from any health food store.
7. Take vitamin D and Omega 3 from fish oil. In Canada, we don’t get sun on our skin in winter, so we must take vitamin D.
8 Use warm spices when cooking: ginger, cayenne, cinnamon, black pepper and garlic. Make ginger tea by pouring some boiling water over the freshly chopped ginger.
9. Dress warm when going outside – wear layers (read about dressing for Canadian winter and wearing layers here).
10. Drink a lot of water. Winter is a heating season – the heat in your house or apartment is nice but it leaves you dehydrated and makes your skin dry. When you are dehydrated, you have no energy.
There are two main differences between cold and flu: flu feels worse – there is usually very high fever and really bad all body pain. Both flu and cold are caused by viruses and cannot be treated with antibiotics (antibiotics can only kill bacteria).
You can feel better and make your cold go away faster. Here’s what you need:
- sea salt
- chicken soup
- raw honey
- Neti pot
Also: Vitamin C, chamomile tea, zinc supplement, sage leaves, humidifier or vaporizer, eucalyptus, astragalus
1 You need to sleep as much as you can – not watch TV in bed but actually sleep – your body repairs itself during sleep. If you can take a day or two off work, do it. And sleep!
You will need to put two or three pillows and sleep almost in a sitting position – do not lie down as usual because you will start coughing.
2. Gargle with salt water (1/2 or 1/4 teaspoon of sea salt per a glass of water) – do this four times a day. In addition, you can gargle with chamomile or sage leaves.
3. Buy or make chicken soup (or you can buy chicken broth from a supermarket) – drink it!
4. Make ginger tea with lemon and honey – and drink a lot of other liquids too. You need to drink so much liquids that your urine will be almost clear.
5. Inhale steam – from a cup of tea, from a pot with boiled water (cover your head with a towel), or while taking a shower.
6. If you have a heater in your house/apartment, the air will be very dry – you need to add moisture to the air. Get a humidifier or a vaporiser from a store, or place a wet towel near the heater and change it when it gets dry (keep it wet).
7. Place a hot pack on your sinuses (on and around your nose). You can buy hot/cold packs from any pharmacy – they are reusable.
8. Take vitamin C – buy 1000 mg and take 2-3 at a time – maximum 6 or 7 per day (human body can handle up to 7000 mg a day but if you get diarrhea, reduce the doze).
9. Neti pots are very popular now – you can buy them at a pharmacy and learn how to use – this prevents runny nose and cough and is very effective
10. Eat a little bit of raw garlic every day – it will help kill the virus inside you.
Good to know:
OTC (over-the-counter) medications for cough and cold have serious side effects and should NEVER be given to small children!
Fever is how your body is fighting the virus. If your fever is low, do not take any medication. Higher temperature kills the virus – let your body fight. Be patient for two days and you will feel better. Only take medication if you have high fever to bring it down.
Coughing is a natural way your body is getting mucus out of your lungs. Cough syrups make the mucus stay inside! So don’t use them unless absolutely necessary (if cough is too painful or you have an important presentation at work).
One green or yellow bell pepper has 340 mg of vitamin C. One orange has 70 mg.
Buy raw (unpasteurized) honey. All regular honey has been processed at high temperature which destroys some of the good stuff in it.
What else can I do?
Eat ginger, pepper and spicy foods – it helps open your sinuses and helps you breathe.
Inhale eucalyptus essential oil to help you breathe. You can buy (or make) Vaporub = eucalyptus oil mixed with camphor.
Drink milk with a little bit of butter (if you have a sore throat)
Cut raw garlic and/or onion and inhale.
Cook your chicken soup with garlic, onion and red chilli pepper.
What NOT to do:
- do not stay in any cold place
- do not use over-the-counter medications (they can make your cold last longer)
- do not eat sugar (cookies, cakes, etc.) – sugar suppresses your immune system (wait till you get healthy, then enjoy your cookies)