I try to live by the old adage;
‘An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure ‘
While the modern-day metric conversion of;
‘A gram of prevention is worth a kilo of cure’, doesn’t quite have the same ring to it; the sentiment is definitely still the same.
The main reason I try and live by this saying is because I’m allergic to most antibiotics so it’s imperative for me to fortify my immune system leading up to winter to prevent or at the least minimise the impact of any colds or flu.
Here are my top tips;
I’m not a germophobe but I do spend a lot of time getting around on public transport and I make sure I use a hand sanitiser, especially if I’ve been touching lots of surfaces and can’t get to a tap to wash my hands before I eat.
The British Royal Family certainly has longevity in their genes but I’m sure the Queen who is still going strong in her 91st year and the Queen Mother, who lived just 5 months short of her 102nd birthday, can contribute some of that long life to great hygiene. I’ve noticed that around us mere mortals, gloves are always worn in public and they never shake anyone’s hand without them.
It horrifies me to watch these pushy t-shirted commission-based charity-sellers, who bombard you in the street to sign you up indefinitely on your credit card to their particular charity and they are constantly shaking everyone’s bare hands and in turn spreading lots of germs along with their ‘love’.
You could also be reinfecting yourself with germs if you don’t clean the things you use regularly. When was the last time you used an antiseptic wipe on your mobile phone or the mouth piece of your landline? Or your computer keyboard? Or even your front door knob?
I much prefer when public bathrooms have paper towels to dry your hands rather than those air-blowers. Not only does it clean them better but I’ve seen or heard women leave without washing their hands so I like to use that paper towel to open the bathroom door when I leave.
Eucalyptus oil & Tea Tree Oil
These are Mother Nature’s natural germ fighters…a couple of drops in the wash especially when washing towels and sheets or in your bucket when washing hard floors can help keep germs at bay.
You can get them in a spray can now too and I regularly use them on my bench tops and other surfaces (Eucalyptus Oil is great when trying to get rid of ants too. Spray it across their path as they hate it)
A few drops of Eucalyptus Oil in a bowl of hot water with a towel over your head is a great inhaler to unblock your sinuses.
Boost your own immune system
When the weather starts getting colder and I notice lots of people sneezing and coughing, I boost my own immune system with extra Vitamin C, Echinacea & fresh garlic.
Smokers often think they get more colds. A contributing factor could be that about 2.5mgs of vitamin C is depleted from your system by every cigarette you smoke. The recommended daily dose of Vitamin C is 45mg so if you’re a heavy smoker then you might want to increase your Vitamin C intake and see if that makes any difference to the amount of colds you get.
As children growing up on the northern beaches, whenever by brothers and I were clogged up with a blocked nose, Mum would send us down to the beach to do some backward rolls in the ocean for the salt water to flush out our sinuses. These days, I regularly flush out my nostrils with saline solution, which I can now conveniently buy over the counter at my local chemist.
I’ve always been a huge fan of acupuncture but I was blown away by how remarkable it is a few years ago when I was getting some acupuncture on my lower back for pain.
I was terribly blocked up in both nostrils with my nose constantly running. After he treated my back he simply put two needles either side of my nose between my eyes then twisted them slightly and it was turning off a tap. I could easily breathe through both nostrils again and my nose instantly dried up.
- Flu vaccination
I’ve been getting the flu injection regularly since I had a severe bout of glandular fever in 1990. While it hasn’t stopped me from getting sick altogether, I have noticed that in the years, when I didn’t get the flu vac at all, the intensity of the symptoms was so much greater.
- Don’t be a martyr
I know we all want to soldier on and we think we’re invincible and indispensable but often you’re doing more harm than good by going to work and infecting lots of other people.
I’m not suggesting you leave anyone in the lurch, but if you’re not going to put your own health first then maybe think about how you’re feeling and what impact that will have on others around you.
If you feel like you’re coming down with something, by staying home and sleeping as long as you can and staying hydrated, you can often get well much quicker.
However, if you’re concerned in anyway or your cold or flu is dragging on longer than it should, go and see your health care professional.
I hope my tips help you have an enjoyable healthy winter…cheers Susie
Susie Elelman AM
Ambassador – Australian Menopause Centre
Author, TV & Radio Broadcaster