Copyright 2009 Dana Braddock

Dana Braddock is a guest contributor to our health blog. She has extensively studied and utilized naturally-based holistic remedies for nearly twenty years. She is highly knowledgeable, and deeply concerned with (and a proponent of) using natural remedies as a means of maintaining balance and optimum health in our bodies’ systems.

You know that the season is here, you have heard the warnings, and you have armed yourself with a huge bottle of gelatinous hand sanitizer. Now what? Do you run screaming from every cough, and lock yourself and your family away until April? Our bosses, our children’s teachers and our families would all agree that this is not a viable option.

It is an accepted fact that most adults will catch two to three colds a year, and children can catch as many as nine. The flu has its own set of statistics, and the media is playing up H1N1 as the new pandemic of the 40 and under set particularly targeting preschool, teenagers, and those with existing respiratory complications.

So again, now what?

I could give you list after grocery list of supplements to begin purchasing in bulk, family-sized quantities to budget for and begin pumping into your family, and in a later edition, I may give some of those gems. For now, I am going to share some lifestyle adjustments that do not cost much, but will help reduce the manifestation of viruses for your family. Notice that I said the manifestation of viruses. You and your family, continuing to live a normal life are going to be exposed to viruses. We are just going to attempt to minimize the opportunity to make your family sick.

First, and this one you know, wash your hands thoroughly and frequently. Teach your children to do the same. Soap and warm water is best; hand sanitizer when soap and water are not available. In public restrooms, use paper towels to turn off the water and open the door to exit.

Get good rest, and eat healthy, real foods. The cold and flu season is also the season when our schedules run the fastest. We tend to stay up later, eat snacks, fill-ins and hors d’oeuvres. Party foods and rich desserts dominate the holiday get-togethers. Sodas and other beverages take the place of water in our diets.

Drink water as often as you can. Flavor it with a slice of lemon or orange, if you enjoy it that way, but drink water. It will pay off in increased energy, minimal weight gain, better rest, and increased immunity. As an added note, drink your water from a glass or cup, not from a common drinking fountain. Those do not always get cleaned regularly and some people, sick and healthy, use them as spittoons. Not the fountain of refreshing you may be envisioning. (Yuck!!)

Do you remember on Little House on the Prairie, Leave it to Beaver, and even Happy Days, the moms would always have the family wash for supper? Let’s consider that for a moment. When the father and children came home for the day (from institutional environments of larger groups of people) they changed their clothes. Then when it was time to eat, they washed their faces and their hands. Even when the mother left the house, she would change from her housedress, and change back when she returned.

The point is that they made a concerted effort to come to the table without bringing all of the exposure from their day with them. This preserved school and work clothes and even church clothes, but it also prevented the germs encountered during their day from entering their bodies with their meal.

Many times now, we go to restaurants straight from school, work or especially Sunday school and church environments. Family members come in the door and head straight for the table after a cursory washing of the hands, and invite unwanted guests into our homes and bodies.

If you are cooking dinner and it is already later and you are in for the night, have the kids shower and eat in their pajamas. Somehow it changes the dinner environment. The time together becomes cozier, slower, and healthier. Just changing your thinking (and your shirts) can make for a better winter season.

As always, the information published within our blog and elsewhere on this website is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. It is designed for educational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for informed medical advice or care. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat any health problems or illnesses without consulting your doctor or health care professional.