With winter comes ills and chills. Here are our top tips for staying healthy and happy as the cold starts to take hold...
The first tip isn’t really a remedy. It’s the best way to avoid catching seasonal colds and flu. Get as much vitamin C as you can – either from natural sources like oranges and naartjies, or from a vitamin supplement. And take it every day!
Preventing dry skin
For those who live in summer rainfall areas, where the winters are cold and dry, here’s a tip to prevent your skin from drying out too much: keep it covered. When you expose skin to cold air, it dries out faster. Wear gloves and wrap a scarf around your lower face when you go outside.
We usually don’t get as thirsty in winter as we do during our hot summers. But proper hydration is essential to keep the body’s natural defences working so don’t forget to drink enough water during the day. This is even more important once you have a winter cold. Don’t drink too much coffee or tea though, because caffeine is a diuretic.
If you’re losing fluids through vomiting, add Rehidrat powder. You’ll have to boil the water first, then add the powder and let it cool. Drink it constantly, rather than all at once.
If your nasal passages are congested, boil a pot of water and then remove it from the stove. Get a small towel and drape it over your head while leaning your face over the pot (just make sure it isn’t so hot that the steam burns you). This will help to clear your sinuses. You can add a few drops of some eucalyptus or mint oil for a stronger effect.
Not only will this hot cup of “tea” warm you up; you can also use it to reduce fever. The secret is cream of tartar. To two and a half cups of hot water, add half a teaspoon of lemon juice, half a teaspoon of honey, and one and a half teaspoons of cream of tartar. Drink about a cup at a time.
Blow one nostril at a time
It’s important to blow your nose to clear your nasal passages, but blowing too hard can force mucous into your ear passages, causing a secondary infection. The best way to blow your nose is to block one nostril at a time and blow very gently.
Wash your hands
This isn’t as much a remedy as a way to prevent getting colds and flu in the first place. Our hands our very active conveyors of infection. Washing them often is a very good way of preventing germ transmission.
The hot toddy
This is one of the oldest and most popular remedies. Boil some water, add lemon juice and ginger and a dash of whisky or brandy. Not too much of the latter though, because alcohol destroys vitamin B and C. Actually, this is probably more of a feel-good remedy than an actual cure – but it will certainly make you feel a little better.