I almost managed to get through this year without getting sick. Almost. Then yesterday I got smacked in the face with the sniffles, watery eyes, a runny nose and back to back sneezes all day. I couldn’t inhale through my nose at all, and my taste buds went numb. By day’s end I had gone through two Advil Cold & Sinus pills (which usually works like a charm), three Airborne packets, three boxes of tissues, and my eyelids and under eyes were completely swollen. I ate two bowls of chicken noodle soup with fresh sautéed spinach and garlic and drank five cups of green tea with lemon and honey. Nothing was helping, so I took a Mucinex D and went to bed. Thankfully I was able to breathe ok throughout the night, but this morning I woke up to a repeat of yesterday. So I ran out to Rite Aid to get Puff’s Plus with lotion tissues because my nose can’t take any more abuse.
All of my immune boosting tactics and constant lathering of hand sanitizer has failed me today. Although they must be playing a big role in my good health because I rarely get sick – especially considering I clean germ filled houses every day – and when I do, I quickly recover. Maybe I picked something up at the gym I just joined last week, or at the Justin Timberlake concert I was at Saturday night – which, by the way was a-maz-ing! Regardless of how and where I contracted it, I’m officially sick. My sinuses are under attack. It sucks. Especially because I had to cancel appointments, rearrange the cleaning schedule, and take the day off. I’ve been on overdrive and my body is telling me to slow down and take a break. So for today, I’m listening. Cleaning houses while sick is counterproductive. The dust, cleaning product scents and constant running nose do nothing but irritate me and make me blow my nose every two minutes. And who wants a sick person cleaning their house? That doesn’t make sense. So I went to the doctor and got an antibiotic – which is always a last resort for me – to clear this crap up, because I can’t afford to be laid up in bed all week. This Cleaning Diva has houses to clean!
So in light of my sinus infection, I’m sharing with you 10 ways to clean up your immune system and other helpful tips to aid you while sick, and/or to avoid getting sick this holiday season. Every little bit helps!
1.) This is a given, and something I’m obsessed with, but some people don’t do it enough. Wash. Hands. Frequently. Use soap and water. Especially after you touch door knobs, go to the bathroom, eat out, or do anything in public. It’s also a must-do when you’re cooking or handling food. When exiting public restrooms, I often use the paper towel I dry my hands clean with to open the door to avoid germing up my freshly washed hands.
2.) Use hand sanitizer or antibacterial hand wipes. Bath & Body Works has great smelling mini antibacterial hand gels that you can keep in your pocket, purse, or car so it’s always with you when you take public transportation, or drop the kids off at daycare. Use hand sanitizing wipes or moisten a tissue or cotton pad with rubbing alcohol and wipe down your phone, computer keyboard and mouse, or tablet at the office or at home.
3.) Drink plenty of water and ditch the sodas and high-sugar drinks. They’re just not good for you. And they don’t hydrate you. Especially when you’re sick. Your body needs to wash out toxins, and drinking plenty of water daily is the best way to clean your body from the inside out, and stay hydrated. I recently invested in a water cooler/dispenser and it’s already paid off because I fill up my canteen several times throughout the day, eliminating wasteful water bottles. If drinking water bores you, then liven it up with some natural anti-oxidant fruits, veggies or herbs such as lemon, cucumbers, mint, basil, or apples. Get creative and you’ll drink more water.
4.) Get steamy. Make a facial steam or inhalation with eucalyptus or lavender leaves or oils. Add it to a bowl or pot of boiling water, cocoon your head over it with a towel and inhale the scented steam to loosen mucus and sinuses. This really helps me!
5.) Use nasal rinses or natural nasal sprays regularly to keep things clean and help mucus move through passages and rid bacteria. Saline sprays help keep passages flowing, as do saline-based rinses. Many people use Neti pots, but I prefer the NeilMed Sinus Rinse because I feel it’s simple to use. Refer to instructions for use.
6.) Be a little bit of a germaphobe. Not like Howie Mandel, but use caution. Don’t share silverware, food, drinks or toothbrushes with others. In fact, change your toothbrush out for a new one after you’ve been sick. If you share a car with someone or have roommates wipe down the steering wheel in between uses, and use different hand towels in the bathroom.
7.) Eat plenty of veggies! Fresh vegetables, especially the greenies (kale, spinach, broccoli, and mustard and collard greens) have an enormous amount of vitamins and immune boosters that will help you fight illnesses, diseases and infections throughout the year. Popeye wasn’t a vegetarian, but he certainly ate plenty of spinach to pack a punch. On the go a lot? Put veggies into a shake or juice them. Garlic is a winner too! And not just to keep away the vampires. It is scientifically proven to have immune boosting and antiviral properties. Two raw garlic cloves a day is said to do the trick. Too much for you? Pop some garlic pills instead. And cook with it too!
8.) Listen to Dr. Oz. Lol. His suggestions for immune boosting, cold and flu fighting aids include, Buckwheat honey, NAC and Vitamin D3 supplements as well as Chinese herbs and spices such as astragalus, turmeric, and mushroom teas. I’m adding these to my daily menus! Do your research.
9.) Do laundry! I know you probably dread doing it, but I consider it a necessity to wash your towels and sheets in hot water at least once a week, for obvious reasons. Think about it. Don’t forget to wash your gloves, hats and scarves frequently, now that the cold weather has crept in. They touch everything, and then touch your face. Keep ‘em clean.
10.) Keep a clean house! The less dust mites and grimy surfaces and knobs you have in your house, the less likely you are to get stuffed up, pass along bad germs, and get the whole family sick. Wipe your surfaces, faucets, toilet seats, door handles (including refrigerator), knobs, remote controls, iPads, and other frequently touched-by-many areas of your house with disinfecting wipes or cleaners weekly. Daily if there’s a sick house member! Or call The Cleaning Diva to do it for you!
And for an added tip – 11.) Don’t Smoke Cigarettes! Smoking kills. Let’s be honest. It certainly isn’t good for your immune health or lungs either, especially when you’re sick. According to the American Lung Association, smoking is directly responsible for approximately 90 percent of lung cancer deaths and approximately 80-90 percent of COPD (emphysema and chronic bronchitis) deaths. Think about that the next time you take a drag. Quit while you’re ahead. Do your body good.
There. I feel better already! 😉