DO NOT DISTURB

Poor health is not caused by something you don't have; it's caused by disturbing something that you already have. Healthy is not something that you need to get, it's something you have already if you don't disturb it. ~Dean Ornish

It's that time of year again! No, not Christmas....cold and flu season. We covered Christmas last month. Are you putting some of those tips into practice? I continue to make my Christmas cookies on the weekends. Today my Amazon purchases will arrive and I shall....let the wrapping begin (as opposed to isolating my self in our bedroom in a wrapping frenzy AFTER our daughter returns home from college)!

Let's talk about how you’re going to stay healthy during the Christmas season, and all winter long. I’m guessing I could fill this page with things you already know: Get lots of rest, reduce your stress, wash your hands, eat your veggies, reduce/avoid sugar, increase your water, etc.

So here are a few more obscure things that may be helpful to you:  

Cold viruses stay on hard surfaces from 2 hours-7 days. What does that mean? If someone comes to your house with a cold, wipe down the surfaces that were touched with a combination of water and bleach.

Likewise, the flu virus is alive on doorknobs and phones for 2-8 hours.

Ok, here is a real pet peeve of mine (you’re getting an inside look at the Coach’s mind). Our phones are incredibly DIRTY. So while I’m out to eat with you, please don’t hand me your phone so I can see a picture or read a text. And, while you are in your kitchen cooking food, if you touch your phone, please wash your hands and continue to cook away!

Most people would say they know to increase their Vitamin C if they are getting a cold. But did you know that Vitamin D is a powerful antibacterial and antiviral? Get your level checked (you want the 25- hydroxy test) to find out if you should be supplementing.

Keep your hands off your face (oh boy did my kids hear that a lot while growing up). Most people touch their face an average of 4 times an hour, and they touch shared surfaces about 3 times an hour. Germs love warm, moist, dark areas. Your eyes, nose, and mouth are all avenues for allowing a virus to have its way with you.

Gargling isn’t just for fresh breath. My mom was a big believer in gargling with salt water for a sore throat (and for canker sores!). But did you know it’s also a great way to prevent yourself from getting an upper respiratory infection? Perhaps you can add a salt water gargle to your morning and/or nighttime routine. You can even try gargling green tea. Some say that gargling with green tea is more effective than plain water at preventing fevers in children. For those of you with kids, give it a try and let me know!

I almost hate to even write this word, but surely you have all heard of Norovirus, a highly contagious gastrointestinal illness that can cause nausea, projectile vomiting, and watery stools. This virus can live on hard surfaces for 7 days. You’ll find this little bugger in crowded places like schools, hospitals, nursing homes, and cruise ships. It’s spread by touching contaminated surfaces (like counters or doorknobs), eating food that an infected person has touched, or even inhaling the virus.

Did you know that one study showed that people who go for a brisk walk several times a week reduced the number of sick days they took by about 40 percent? So bundle up and get out there. Just be careful with ice!

Here are ones you probably haven’t thought of: stock up on pens and keep a supply in your purse! When a doctor’s office or cashier hands you one, tell them you have your own. While you’re at it, keep a stylus in your purse too. When an I Pad is pushed towards you to sign after getting your haircut, nails did, or a massage, etc, use your own stylus so you aren’t touching the screen everyone else has had their fingers on.

Though I know you know to wash your hands, did you know that the temperature of the water really doesn’t matter? Friction is the most important feature of good hand washing. So lather up and rub your hands together for 30 seconds or so, under hot, warm or cool water.

Most of us are in the kitchen more over the holidays. Your kitchen sponge is loaded with germs. Once a week run it through the dishwasher or heat a damp sponge in the microwave for 30 seconds.

And finally, give a great gift to everyone you meet this season:  If you're sick, stay home!

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