Common colds are well, common. There are literally thousands of strains, all constantly changing. Many of us come down with a virus in winter and some are worse than others. But there isn’t much your GP can do for you because antibiotics don’t work on viruses. Your doctor will probably tell you so stay away from work (stop spreading the “death warmed up” love) and to keep up the fluids (not alcohol), maybe take a panadol to help with the aches. But here are 6 other things you can be doing to:
A) Avoid getting sick in the first place
B) Stop feeling like death warmed up and get better sooner!
AVOID GETTING SICK
Colds seems to be more prevalent in the winter months so most people think it has something to do with the cold air. In actual fact it’s more to do with WARM air.
- Get outside and get some fresh air. When the weather gets cold we stay indoors, pop the heater on and huddle a bit closer. We don’t head outside for lunch when we’re at work or go exercise outside of work hours. What this means is that we get less fresh air and more recirculated warm air. What do bugs love? Warm, moist environments like heaters. Ick! So try to crack open a window and freshen up a bit.
- Eat more veggies. Its the antioxidants and vitamins we want to keep our bodies and immune systems functioning at their best. Hiding veggies in stews and casseroles is pretty easy and still incredibly comforting. Soups are great and usually packed with veggies! Whip out the slow cooker and pop on a vitamin and antioxidant rich minestrone or pumpkin soup….yum. You could even try one of those Bone Broths everyone is talking about.
- Wood + Spice oils. You knew it was coming…the “oil for that”. Yep, wood oils like Frankincense, Cedarwood, Arborvitae, Sandalwood etc are all great for supporting our immune systems. They do this by increasing the activity of our white blood cells (they help the body do it’s job and heal itself). Spice oils like Oregano, Thyme (particularly amazing), Clove, Rosemary and Cinnamon have great anti-inflammatory and antiviral properties that help keep you fighting fit. The blend On Guard is awesome as it contains lots of these oils.
SAVE ME, I’M SICK!
Bugger, you’ve caught a cold…it happens. Like I said, they’re pretty common. But let me share with you some things to help you feel better sooner. This is where the oils really come into their element. Helping support your body do what it does best, find balance and heal itself.
- Drink water. That GP was on the money. Keeping hydrated is really important for supporting your body fight that virus. If you get a fever, that’s ok. Your body raising it’s core temperature is giving that virus an unfavourable environment and hopefully knock it off. But you’ll get dehydrated so drink lots of water or herbal teas. Try a nice lemon, ginger and honey, green or chamomile tea. I’ve made Luke a Lemon, raw honey and Ginger in warm water drink which he found very soothing. (1 drop of each Lemon and Ginger oil with a teaspoon of honey, mix with warm water). Avoid alcohol and lots of caffeine. These just add extra stress on your body to break down, taking away its fighting power.
- Rest. Again, super basic but really important. Waging a war on an invading virus takes lots of energy. Try Lavender in a bath to help relax and calm so you can rest. Don’t try and “Sweat It Out” with heavy exercise! You need the energy to put up a good immune response. White blood cell production kicks off, among lots of other things. This is where the aches and pains come from. Your bone marrow is busy churning out new cells, swelling and giving you the achey joints feeling. Systemic inflammation is also to blame there. Whip out the Wood + Spice oils (above) and rub those all over your body with some coconut oil. Pay special attention to your throat and arm pits as massaging these oils there can stimulate lymph drainage, clearing your body of toxins faster. If the aches are really bad, you can try massaging with Ice Blue, Black Pepper or Lemongrass + Oregano to relieve pain. Remember to dilute, dilute, dilute!
- Relieve Congestion in your blocked nose and angry sinuses with Easy Air. Get that diffusing day and night as not only will it help open your airways, it’ll help kill the virus floating around your home (remember the lack of fresh air?) and stop it spreading to the rest of the family. Another combo you can try diffusing is Lime + Eucalyptus + Cedarwood.
One of the really wonderful things about essential oils is that because they are the immune systems of plants, they all have some level of cold fighting ability. So whether you have these specific oils in your collection or not, whip out what you’ve got as something will always be better than nothing.
What you’re NOT going to get with popping cold and flu tablets, is the incredibly soothing and emotionally comforting benefits that come with using oils. That great, big, oily hug is something a tablet just can’t provide.
Hopefully, with this advice you’ll be able to enjoy all the awesome things that winter brings: big coats, bright scarves, boots, and being cuddled up on couches under snuggly blankets.