An insidious creature has invaded our home, traveling from one family member to the next in a chain of misery and ill will. It stealthily moves through the air, searching for its next victim. Each new target is defenseless — lethargic, feverish, and unable to breathe …
It isn’t a scary Halloween movie antagonist – it’s a virus.
It began with my older son, who returned from a three-night trip to Ohio with the bug. It promptly infected his brother, knocking him off his feet for several days, and now my husband is starting to feel under the weather. It’s only a matter of time before I end up with it, but I’m doing everything I can to keep myself healthy so I can carry on with all of the upcoming events that make autumn special.
It’s a beautiful time of year and one that I really enjoy – the cooler weather, the changing leaves, Halloween (the kick-off holiday in the season of holidays). What I don’t like: sore throats, fevers, stuffy noses, hacking coughs, and (in the case of my son) the sinus and ear infections that follow. I see and hear it everywhere I go – the coughing woman in the elevator, the sniffling store clerk handing me my receipt, the red-nosed child whining in the mall. This time of year, cold and flu germs are everywhere. So, how can you keep from getting sick?
Even though there’s no cure for a cold, you can do a great deal to prevent one – wash your hands (a lot!), keep a bottle of handy-dandy germ killer near you, get plenty of sleep, stay hydrated, and eat right. For example, did you know that garlic can ward off colds by boosting your immune system? Other great foods to include in your diet are plentiful this time of year, including citrus (vitamin C), onions, squash, and pumpkin.
Warding off the flu is all of the above – but you can also get a flu shot. To be honest, I’m not a fan of shots, but I came down with the flu a couple of years ago during a camping trip. Since I never (ever) want to experience a week like that again, I now get a flu shot.
Even if you take preventative measures, you may not be able to prevent that fall cold. If you do get sick, stay home. Not only does this help prevent it spreading to your co-workers, carpool members, grocery store clerks, etcetera, but a little rest and pampering can go a long way to helping you recover more quickly. Find your favorite blanket, a box of tissues, some tea (brew your own to include cinnamon or honey – it not only tastes good, but it will soothe your symptoms), and cook a nice, big pot of chicken soup. (Mom was right – it really does work!) Also, spice things up a bit! Whether you go with a five-alarm chili or General Tsao’s Chicken (either are great – the chili has beef, garlic, onions, and bell peppers and the General Tsao’s has garlic, ginger, and onions – all of which can help your body fight off a cold), a little spice will help clear your sinuses right up.
Even though you don’t feel well, take advantage of this down time. Catch up on your sleep, read, learn to love daytime TV, mentally redecorate your apartment — as long as you are resting, eating right, and drinking plenty of fluids, you’ll be back on your feet in no time.