Ten Ways To Avoid Colds And Flu This Winter

Winter is the season for colds and flu. According to Dr William Bird, medical consultant of the Meteorological Office’s Health Forecast Unit, December is when infections tend to become prevalent. Here, we look at some ways you can minimize your risk of catching colds and flu.

Keep Warm

Flu and ColdsGranny was right – keeping warm can help you avoid coughs, colds and flu. Dr Bird says: ‘After our exceptionally mild autumn, people won’t be used to dressing warmly for wintry weather. So if there’s a sudden icy snap, we will be more likely to feel the cold and start to shiver.

‘Shivering depresses the immune system and this makes us more likely to catch colds. Also, lower levels of sunlight and altered levels of hormones such as melatonin and serotonin negatively affect how the immune system performs.’ We lose up to 30per cent of our body heat through our heads – so wear a hat.

Wash Your Hands

Dr Nicola Goddard, clinical scientist at the Public Health Laboratory Service, says: ‘Although most infections are mainly carried in the air and transmitted by the “aerosol” effect when someone sneezes, germs can be transmitted by physical contact and enter the body when infected hands touch vulnerable parts like our eyes, mouths and noses.

‘These areas offer easy access to invading germs despite being equipped with defence mechanisms such as mucous and hairs. Washing hands often – and drying them on disposable paper towels (or laundering hand towels regularly) – can significantly reduce the chances of catching a virus, especially the rotavirus, which tends to infect children and causes vomiting and diarrhoea.

Watch the Weather

Low cloud, dull and misty conditions tend to bring an increase in germs, says Dr Bird. ‘Viruses survive longer when the weather is moist. They can hang in the air attached to water droplets more easily, and when it’s cloudy and dull there are fewer breezes to blow the germs away.

‘This is the time when you’re more likely to catch something – although you may not notice you’ve done so until ten to 12 days later, the incubation period for many colds and coughs.’

Avoid huddling and heating

Because people are much closer together physically during winter, this makes it easier for infections to pass between people. Crowded trains and Tubes with little ventilation, department stores bustling with shoppers, and people gathering for parties all make catching a cold more likely.

‘Central heating reduces our defences and affects the respiratory system by drying out the protective mucous in our nasal passages,’ says Dr Bird. ‘The dry, stuffy air of central heating can also lead to sore throats and aggravate chest complaints like asthma.’ A humidifier can help.

Herbal Help

If your immune system needs pepping up to withstand the winter onslaught of germs, Echinacea should be an integral part of your daily routine.

The Echinacea plant was originally used by native Americans to heal wounds and infections. Nowadays, it is popularly used to boost the immune system in fighting colds and flu, and also as an agent to help heal viral and bacterial infections.

Although Echinacea is used to boost the immune system, it does tend to lose effectiveness with lengthy usage. Ideally, you should take it for no more than six to eight weeks at a time.

The normal dose is 3-4ml of alcoholic extract or 300mg of powdered herb tablets taken three times daily at the first sign of infection. It is not recommended for people with progressive systemic and autoimmune diseases such as tuberculosis, lupus or Aids.

Zinc and Garlic

The mineral zinc is essential to help fight colds and provide a boost to a flagging immune system. Good food sources include meat, oysters, eggs, seafood, tofu, black- eyed peas and wheat germ. Zinc and Vitamin C make a great cold-busting duo.

Garlic helps ease chest complaints, and small amounts taken daily may also reduce the frequency of colds and flu.

Drink Plenty of Fluids

Doctors recommend we drink about eight glasses of water a day to stay healthy. Rehydration expert Dr Susan Shirreffs says: ‘Water helps the kidneys function properly and flushes out the toxins that accumulate in our bodies.’

If you have a cold, being dehydrated makes your mucus drier and thicker and less able to cope against invading bacteria and viruses. If you’ve already caught a cold, drinking plenty of fluids will help flush out the infection.

Sleep Soundly

Lack of sleep makes us more prone to infection, says Dr Bird. ‘But it’s not a matter of simply sleeping for longer, as some people – especially those who are positively motivated – can have fewer than seven hours’ sleep every night and not suffer at all.

‘Moods also affect our ability to fight off infections, and if you feel stressed you are more likely to become ill compared to when you’re feeling buoyant, happy and relaxed,’ he says.

Keep on Moving

Dr Bird says: ‘Don’t underestimate the importance of regular activity, especially in winter. Apart from keeping our circulation going, regular moderate exercise increases the number of natural killer (NK) cells in our bodies.’

These lymphocytes in the bloodstream and the mucosal layer of the nose and airways travel around our bodies scavenging foreign invaders such as bacteria and viruses.

‘When you exercise, NK levels go up and stay elevated for about 36 hours afterwards,’ says Dr Bird. ‘However, if you exercise too much, this will actually lower levels of NK cells.’

Take Vitamins and Probiotics

Taking a daily multivitamin is especially important in the winter when we may be less likely to be eating enough fresh fruit and vegetables, and are also more at risk from infection.

Probiotics, such as lactobacilli and bifidobacteria, are ‘friendly’ bacteria in our intestines and increasingly recognised for their importance not only in maintaining a healthy digestive system, but for improving the body’s natural defence mechanisms.

Studies have shown that taking probiotic supplements can improve the body’s resistance to bacterial and viral infections.

Author: Stephanie Zinser

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-86521/Ten-ways-avoid-colds-flu-winter.html

Anger Management And Your Personal Power

You need anger management skills; when you go off on a tirade, when your emotional response does not match the situation, when you get triggered into an automatic violent response to other people’s behavior.

So many times people equate personal power with intimidation or tyranny and bully behavior. Manipulative control patterns can be subtle. We can be conditioned into compliant behavior, then be resentful. When you look at it, the ability to choose how you want to respond to someone or a situation is changing the story. You can choose the “Highest Potential Outcome”.

What fits best for you?

When was the last time you were presented with a “choice”, a request or an offer from someone? Did you feel there was an agenda? Maybe there was an unspoken threat or ultimatum?

Body Language and Tone of Voice

angry coupleI’m thinking of my own life as a young married woman, I asked my partner to participate in events or projects when he clearly didn’t want to participate. The tone of voice I’d use, or my body language would show tension, frustration, escalating anger, when I encountered resistance or apathy to my desire or need. The words of giving a choice would be cancelled out by the demand embedded in the bigger communication picture.

Giving in to the threat of emotional blackmail or the threat of violence or distancing, withholding behaviors is giving away your personal choice. Behavior isn’t a true choice if it is demanded. When a person continually gives away their choice, their sense of power, their voice gets smaller, resentments set it. This process kills intimacy, and is the time when anger management skills are very helpful in dispensing tension.

Both parties need to have a voice, dignity and power to get their own needs met.

Win/win negotiations can include timing changes or the faces involved in the experiences, to achieve the best fit. Both partners need to discuss their needs, desire, establish mutual and individual goals and outcomes.

You can use a set of guidelines or boundaries to make it fair for all involved in your problem solving. Choose to live violence free. Choose to have dignity. Choose to have a relationship where there is room to grow and develop, have your needs met in a healthy balanced way. Experience peace, and joy within yourself and in your relationship because your voice is heard and matters. Look for making valid choices based on your personal power.

For more information on dealing with family troubles read our article on blended families.

Blended Families Can Be Challenging Part 2

I feel torn between my Kids and my Girlfriend…

familyMy girlfriend and I have been together for over a year, partying and having fun. Sometimes we get into the alcohol a little bit too much, and have hangovers the next morning. Nights in the bar cost a lot of money! She is 9 years younger than I am and she loves going to the bar to play pool. She is pretty, and fun to be with, and we get along great.

My kids come over on their designated weekends. There have been times we were sick and too worn out to be available to do things with them. We don’t have money for activities.

It takes a lot of energy to take care of the shopping, meal preparation and house cleaning. The girls avoid doing the chores. Nobody wants to do the work. My daughters at 14 and 12 years old, started complaining that it was no fun to come visit, they’d rather go visit their friends.

I asked my girlfriend to slow down on the drinking, so we can be in better shape when the girls come over. Last weekend we made plans to do family activities with the girls. My girlfriend agreed to participate with us, but when her friends said they were going out, she chose to go with them. So my girls and I had a nice day, but it was not the great day that we had planned.

My girls went through a lot when their mom and I divorced, I have been careful not to pull them into my casual relationships. This girlfriend was different in that we get along so well. I wanted us to start becoming more of a family. But it looks like she just wants to party and be with her friends. My daughters are mad at me, and just want to be with their friends!

I miss my girlfriend. I want both my girlfriend AND my daughters in my life. I’m feeling alone again. I want family life to be more important than everybody’s friends!

Answer: Does alcohol use get in the way? Often people hide behind alcohol if they don’t see ways of getting their emotional and belonging needs met. Drinking less would be a good start. Being healthier and more alive for your children would help you enjoy them more.

Relationships get developed in stages. The dating, flirting, having fun, getting to know each other stage often gets confused as being more powerful and alluring then the more mature stages of loving. Dating, having fun together, having mutual attraction, is supposed to prepare you to work together as a couple, build confidence and trust in each other. Looks like you and your girlfriend are stuck at the first level of being a couple!

Being able to prioritize needs with your partner, set goals together, allows you to build family life. Deeper stages of love require a maturity, an ability to cultivate a loving, safe environment. Has your girlfriend had a chance to start getting to know your children? Are your ideas of parenting and step parenting similar? Do your daughters like her? Does she like them? Are you inclusive with all of them?

Being able to discuss the deeper aspects of being a family can make the difference in the quality of life you get to experience. Asking your girlfriend what her 5 year vision of the future and comparing it to yours may help you see what is possible.

We have another article here on the same subject. Click here for more on blended families.

Written by Corinne Mackenzie
Crystal Clear Energy Medicine
Phone: (250) 852-1580
750 Fortune Dr #32
Kamloops, BC V2B 2L2
Therapy Right Now

Blended Families Can Be Challenging

My husband and I both have come from long term relationships before our relationship together. We both brought children into our present blended family, as well as having our own baby together.

Keeping The Peace at Home

blended familyThe problem is his two boys, ages 8 and 11, align together, and bully my son. The boys don’t feel they have to listen to me. My husband is working a lot of the time, so isn’t around to do much of the disciplining. They live with their mom, and come visit on a regular basis every other weekend.

We have two 8 year olds! One is mine, one is his. The two 8 year old boys, have become so competitive! His 8 year old and 11 year old are used to being together on their own terms. Adjusting into a new sibling group with a stepmom has been hard.

My child gets ganged up on, and bullied or left out. He seems to be depressed a lot of the time. My heart breaks to see the bullying by the other brother team.

Because they are with us part time, I have a hard time correcting or shifting this behavior. I cringe when there are visits from his kids coming up. I dread them.

Here is a Solution

Yes, I bet it is a difficult to hold family space and have fun satisfying connection with his boys, with the bullying. There are under currents of emotions potentially not getting addressed. I can see jealousy, and maybe fear of being abandoned creeping up, and of course it would!

His 2 boys have lost their full time dad, they watched the shifting of their parents in relationship- it fell apart. What could happen between dad and children? Will dad love the new family more than his 2 sons? What would it take to be happy?

Having a sense of belonging, some security in their own relationships within the family structure, being able to talk about their experience is all important. Just as you would talk about the changes in a family after a death, it is necessary to talk about the changes, the shifts, grief and loss after a divorce. Sharing this process brings you closer together again.

Talking about behavior, how the children and you as a couple are experiencing yourselves as a new family all helps. Boundaries of safe respectful, behaviors, need to be put into place. Plan how you can work together to create the family life you all want. If you feel that a private session with a family counselor could help get things out in the open, that can do wonders.

Check around to see if someone neutral would be open to discussing the situation. There are many therapists who could be very helpful.

Helpful Advice From Jimmy Evans, Karen Evans, Ron Deal

Are Allergies a Problem in Your Home?

allergic reactionAllergies are hypersensitive reactions that affect a person’s immune system. They can range from minor and bothersome to life-threatening. If you or a loved one has an allergy, there are some topics you should discuss with your doctor.

What Is An Allergen?

An allergen is a substance a person is allergic to, and there is virtually no limit to the possibilities. A person may be allergic to only one substance, or a number of different substances. Some of the most common allergens are pollen, specific foods, specific medications, pet dander, stings from bees or wasps, and substances in the environment.

Why You Should Discuss Your Allergens With Your Physician

Only your doctor can recommend appropriate treatment for your allergy. However, your doctor also needs to know if you have an allergy that can cause medical complications. An allergy to certain antibiotics is one example. If you ever need routine or emergency medical treatment, everything you are allergic to should be in your medical record.

What Kinds Of Treatments Are Available?

Many people believe the only way to cope with an allergy is to avoid the particular substance they are allergic to. While this may seem like the sensible course of action, it is not always the best approach. Depending on the substance, your doctor may be able to prescribe medication. Medication is especially useful when allergens cannot easily be avoided.

Symptoms Of An Allergy

Depending on the particular substance, you may experience any number of symptoms. Red or watery eyes, itching, sneezing, breathing difficulties, rashes, and gastrointestinal problems are some of the most common symptoms. A severe allergy may result in the inability to breathe, coma, or death.

How To Have An Accurate Diagnosis

Even if you believe you are allergic to something, a conclusive diagnosis requires one or more tests performed by a physician. The most common tests for this purpose are skin prick tests, patch tests, challenge tests, elimination tests, and blood tests.

If your doctor advises a test, you should have it performed immediately. Most tests will take only a few minutes of your time in the doctor’s office. Testing is the only way to obtain an accurate diagnosis, and to learn how to cope with your problem.

An Important Note About Allergies

It is possible to become allergic to something that you were not allergic to in the past. This is why you should consult with a doctor if you begin to experience any unusual symptoms. Only a qualified physician can determine if an allergen is the cause.

Your health is important, and so is your overall quality of life. You do not need to go through life trying to avoid dust, cats, bees, pollen, or other substances. In most cases, all it takes is a test to determine an allergen, and medication to prevent harmful reactions. Better health and confidence can be yours. Begin by discussing your lifestyle with your physician, and let him know if you are experiencing symptoms. Allergy relief can be as close as your next appointment with your doctor.

Tips for Indoor Allergies