do you head off illnesses?

It’s cold and flu season. As a part-time employee in an elementary school, I am exposed to just about anything and everything that’s going around.

Coincidentally, we’re also in the holiday season which tends to be more stressful for most people.

Stress weakens your immune system. Bad combination.

I used to be a “everything needs to get done regardless of how I am feeling” person. My busy schedule stayed busy despite sore throats, coughs, runny noses. By the time Christmas came, if I wasn’t already miserably sick, I was well on my way.

I have changed my ways. With few passing exceptions, my health is my priority.

For example …

For the last couple of weeks, I’ve been a bit run down. On several mornings, I’ve woken up with a sore throat, but within half an hour of getting up, it’s gone. My body is kind enough most of the time to give me this warning shot: you’re about to get sick.

First order of business: if I have slacked off with my Neti Pot (as I had recently), I go back to using that once a day, most often as soon as I get home from school. Clean out all the kid germs.

Second order of business: sleep more. Whether this is going to bed earlier, sleeping later (on days off) or taking naps, I need more sleep. This is easy to remember because when I’m fight getting sick, I’m tired all the time. Sleep is when your white blood cells fight the good fight: give them ample time.

I make sure to stay hydrated. This is something I like to do anyway, but sometimes it slips to the sidelines for a couple of days.

If I have slacked off on my eating habits, this is an excellent time to return to eating well. A body that is well-nourished is much stronger than one that is not well-fed.

I have also become a fan of Emergen-C. I’ll take a packet in the morning after breakfast. (If you are aware of reasons I might want to reconsider this, I’m open.)

This combination of things, if I maintain it for a few days or more, will stave off any illness that has warned me it’s coming.

If it starts to get worse, I will either clear some items off of my calendar or take a day off from work. I am of the mindset that it is better to take one day off now and sleep all day rather than wait until I’m not functional and need to take three or four days.

What do you do when you’re starting to feel run down?

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3 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Lisa on 16 November 2010 at 15:46

    Lots of vit C, lots of water, and some extra vit D on top of my usual multi-vitamin. I’ve gotten a tincture of echinacea and astragola for the kids which I’m putting in their OJ. I do tend to get sick once every winter though, no matter what I do!

  2. When the kids are starting to feel run down, they would always ask to get adjusted. If I was too tired or busy and would say “tomorrow,” tomorrow would be the day they were sick. So I’ve learned that when the kids ask to be adjusted, we check them that day. I make sure they go to bed earlier than normal, and always wear warm clothes when it is even remotely cold outside.

    Lots of people forget that the extra energy it takes to keep your body warm is energy wasted on homeostasis via shivering, rather than letting the body use it for fighting off the bad guys! So we bundle up.

    It is rare we use extra supplements in the winter, but we do tend to do more grapefruits, oranges, and my personal favorite… clementines! I might polish off a box in a day or two. Vitamin D is one I’d consider supplementing, along with some zinc – but I really haven’t found it necessary.

    We also make it a point to keep crap out of our diets. If a stomach virus is going around, we do raw pineapple. Usually kicks it out, or keeps it out if we didn’t get it yet.

  3. I’m usually so oblivious with my health that, when cold hits me, it hits me hard. In this case I take Coldrex (a strong Paracetamol based medicine we have in Romania). Not good for the stomach, but 4-5 tablets and I am as new. As compared to the “dozy” pills I took when sick in the States, it has some caffeine too, so it really keeps you up.

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