Beat colds and flu bugs

Everyone I know seems to have caught a cold or flu bug right now. There’s something nasty going round…..everywhere you go, people sniff and cough! Now it’s winter, we all have to find a way to protect ourselves. Public transport or in the office, it can feel as if you’re surrounded by a barrage of germs on every side! People snuffling into handkerchiefs, sneezing through scarves and coughing behind coat sleeves.

Prevention is better than cure, of course. Keep your immune system in good condition with supplements of echinacea and cod liver oil. Make sure you have plenty of vitamin C in your system, eating fresh fruit and vegetables and substituting hot water with lemon and ginger for your usual morning coffee. A nice change can be rosehip tea – which is surprisingly high in vitamin C and very refreshing – and an Essential Defense Massage Oil Candle is also very helpful.

The air in your house needs changing – even when it’s cold. Every other day, open all the windows and let clean air in for an hour or so – central heating can be very drying to your skin and it can also weaken your respiratory system. Always place a bowl of water by each radiator to slowly evaporate with few drops of tea tree and eucalyptus or pine essential oils. If you have an Essential Defense candle, light it in the area where you work / sit to boost your immune system and help your breathing. Breathe the vapours – they will do you good! You can also fill a little spritzer bottle with some water and a few drops of rosemary essential oil and use this as a room spray to freshen a room. This is so much better than most air fresheners you’d buy, in a supermarket, for example – artificial chemicals can actually make respiratory problems worse. So beware!

To counter the winter evening blues, try and get at least some fresh air exercise every day. Rainy weather is dreary, but a cold clear day is invigorating. It boosts energy levels and the sunlight makes a real difference to your spirits – even if only for a ten-minute walk in your lunch-break. Greenery in the house is cheering as well. A pine tree, for example, helps air quality and your breathing – so get a Christmas tree (a real one, please) and look after it!

The Chinese believe this is the time to eat yang foods – not watery yin foods. Indeed, many women complain of water retention over the winter months. So don’t make the problem worse with hot soups, instead have lots of crunchy stir-fries or vegetables roasted in the oven. In the spring, your urge for salads and lighter meals will return, so don’t punish your body if it wants more substantial meals.

To decongest, those with bronchitis or a badly affected chest, read my blog on treating colds and flu for remedy ideas or use a warm Essential Defense massage candle: breathe in the vapour or just rub the warm oils between your hands and cup them over your nose and mouth, then massage gently torso with circular movements and cover afterwards to keep warm.

For a sore throat, gargle with lemon juice and salt, drink rosehip tea with honey and suck on a clove or two for an analgesic effect as good as any tablet. It will give you a fresh breath also.

Finally, if you get flu, take a couple of days in bed – you’re not grateful to whomever gave it to you and the office won’t be very pleased if you spread it around! Massage oils (make up your own or use a Essential Defense candle – its 13 essential oils have highly-antiseptic and -bactericidal properties) into your temples to relieve flu headaches.

Give yourself a massage or, if you are lucky enough to have one booked at a spa, ask your therapist if they are using suitable therapeutic oils (or take your own). Ask him or her to concentrate along the side of your spine, lower back, shoulders, feet and hands. On the face, focus near the temple, back of the neck and around the sinus area.

Look after yourself this Christmas – that in itself is a gift to yourself and your family and friends!