Another cold and flu season has arrived, and it’s nearly impossible not to be affected. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, adults have an average of two to three colds a year, and children have even more. And when one family member catches a cold, it’s likely the rest of the family will follow suit.
While there’s no universal cure for a cold, there are ways to help you feel comforted while you’re sick. Put on your softest PJs, snuggle under the covers and read these tips for staying comfortable this cold and flu season:
- Stay hydrated. Water, juice, clear broth, warm apple juice or warm lemon water with honey can help loosen congestion and prevent dehydration. Avoid alcohol, coffee and caffeinated sodas, which can further dehydrate you when you’re sick.
- Soothe a sore nose. Noses can turn sore and red from tissue blowing, so use a soft, soothing tissue. Those with aloe may feel especially gentle. Don’t use pre-moistened wipes like diaper wipes or ones for removing makeup, as they contain fragrance, detergents, or other chemicals that may further irritate cracked, dry skin,
- Acetaminophen and ibuprofen can ease your aches and pains. If your head hurts, dimming the lights and placing a cool gel mask over your eyes can be extremely relaxing. And if you are feeling chilled, try snuggling with a heated blanket.
- If you have a sore throat, try ice chips, sore throat sprays, or lozenges, to soothe your sore throat pain. And don’t forget the ultimate comfort food for colds—chicken soup—which can help ease sore throat pain. Tea with honey is another good option.
- Try to keep your mind off being sick with family board games, playing cards, coloring books, crossword puzzles and the like. Watch your favorite movie or show, or listen to soothing music.
- Another way to pass the time is to take a relaxing bath. Add some Epsom salts to help with body aches and lavender oil to feel more calm and tranquil.
- Lastly, be sure to get plenty of rest. While eight hours is the recommended amount of sleep for most each night, go to bed even earlier when you’re sick, and be sure to nap throughout the day. Soft cotton sheets will help your body breathe more in bed, especially if you have a fever.
How To Protect Yourself From Future Colds
While most people recover from a cold within 7 to 10 days, it can spread from infected people to others through the air and close personal contact, such as shaking hands, or touching infected surfaces, like door handles or sink faucets.
Here are some tips to avoid catching a cold, whether it’s your first time or third:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water. Wash them for 20 seconds and help young children do the same. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Stay away from people who are sick.
- Take zinc supplement to boost your immune system.
Your chances of developing heart disease come down to the number of risk factors you have for it. The more factors, the higher the chance of getting it. Let’s take a look at 10 of the most common risk factors of heart disease:
- Heart Blood Pressure
- Diabetes and prediabetes
- Being overweight or obese
- Being physically inactive
- Unhealthy Diet
- High blood cholesterol
- A family history of early heart disease
- History of preeclampsia in pregnancy
If you have a propensity toward high blood pressure, high cholesterol or diabetes, it may be genetic-related but even so, all three are controllable with the proper diet, exercise, and medication. Keeping them in check will lower your chances of contracting heart disease, however, you first have to know your numbers.
How does your blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar stack up against the standards for each bodily vital? Getting an annual health check-up, will let you know your numbers, and help your doctor to prescribe treatment to get high numbers back where they should be.
As far as the risk factors of smoking, overweight, being sedentary and eating an unhealthy diet, all of these are also completely within your control. There are several programs available at your local pharmacy to help you overcome smoking, but none of them will work unless you are mentally prepared to quit.
Becoming more active by exercising and eating a healthy diet, the weight you want to lose will start coming off. Here again, losing weight, exercising and eating healthy are all things you have to want to do to improve your health and longevity … not the things others want you to do.
As long as you are at the doctor getting checked out, ask for your doctor’s advice on quitting smoking, losing weight, getting more exercise and eating a more healthy diet. All you need is the will and a plan to overcome them and those risk factors will be at or close to zero.
With all of the risk factors except the last three in your control, you have greatly reduced your risk of heart disease and lowered your chances of having a heart-related event. While you can’t control the last three factors, you can have an effect on the other seven.
Start taking the steps to lower your risk of heart disease today. Tomorrow may be too late to get a second chance.
Heart disease is the leading cause of death for men and women in the United States. Every year, 1 in 4 deaths are caused by heart disease.
The good news? Heart disease can often be prevented when people make healthy choices and manage their health conditions. Communities, health professionals, and families can work together to create opportunities for people to make healthier choices. You can make healthy changes to lower your risk of developing heart disease. Controlling and preventing risk factors is also important for people who already have heart disease.
Celebrate National Wear Red Day to raise awareness about women and heart disease. Encourage everyone in your community to wear red on February 1, 2019. Visit Go Red for Women for more information. Host an American Heart Month event at a local school, health center, or library. Spread the word about strategies for preventing heart disease and encourage people to live heart-healthy lives. Spread the word about strategies for preventing heart disease and encourage people to live heart-healthy lives.
A few ideas: Encourage families to make small changes, like using spices to season their food instead of salt. Motivate teachers and administrators to make physical activity a part of the school day. This can help students start good habits early. Ask doctors and nurses to be leaders in their communities by speaking out about ways to prevent heart disease.
Sounds crazy but, most studies show drinking water does boost your metabolism but by how much? According to a 2003 study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology, participants showed a 30 percent metabolic increase that lasted between 10 and 40 minutes after drinking two cups of water. By drinking the recommended 8 cups per day, you would burn an additional 96 calories. Other studies support these finding, just not to this great of an extent.
Keep in mind, drinking water alone will not increase your metabolism enough to show any appreciable weight loss, but when added to your other weight loss efforts it will help, plus it will keep you from being dehydrated – a major nemesis to weight loss.
If keeping hydrated is part of a weight loss strategy, then why do 22 percent of us not get our 8 glasses per day? Because we falsely use thirst as our guide to drink.
Most studies have found that by the time you feel thirsty, you have already lost 2 percent of the water in your body. While that might not sound like much, it is huge when our body is made up of at least 50 percent water.
Tricks to increase your water consumption
There are a few hacks you can use to get the most metabolic increase from the water you drink:
Drink it cold: When you drink something cold, the body has to work harder to warm the liquid up to body core temperature. The warming process burns additional calories over drinking tepid to lukewarm water – water that is closer to body core temperature.
Add lemon to it: Adding lemon to your water does a couple of things – 1) it makes your water taste better and 2) one lemon has up to 40 percent of your daily requirement of vitamin C and provides the replacement of the electrolytes potassium, magnesium, sodium, and calcium lost during an exercise workout. All with the addition of only 15 calories.
Put a day’s worth of water in a pitcher: It is easy to lose track of how much (or how little) water you drink in a day. An easy way is to fill a pitcher with 64 ounces of water, add the juice of one lemon and put it in the refrigerator. All three hacks accomplished at once. Periodically throughout the day get a glass of water from the pitcher. Make sure it is empty by the end of the day.
Drinking an adequate amount of water not only speeds up your metabolism but is so important for good health. Make it a part of your daily regimen so that you ensure you are getting enough.
The short answer is “It depends!” because how fast you get into shape is directly relevant to your present physical condition and how fast your body reacts to physical conditioning. For example, someone 10 pounds overweight, but with no physical limitations, will get in shape a lot faster than someone 50 pounds overweight with Type II diabetes and bad knees.
Not only will it take the second individual longer to get in shape, but s/he will also need to use a different strategy. And the reality is the second person may never get to the fitness level of the first one. But it is not a competition, it is individual and doing anything is better than doing nothing.
Getting fit after years of inactivity is like taking a car out for a drive after it has been set for ten years. If you are a car aficionado, you know you wouldn’t get in it and see how fast you could max out the r.p.ms in every gear. You would baby it along and gradually get it up to speed. The body after years of “non-use” is the same way.
You want to start slow and gradually work your way up the fitness ladder. The American Heart Association recommends a good place to start is exercise three to four times per week, 30 to 60 minutes each time, with a target heart rate of 50% to 60% of your maximum heart rate. To calculate your maximum heart rate take 220 – your age (for men) or 226 – your age (for women).
For example, the maximum heart rate for a 50-year-old man would be 170. Sixty percent of that figure would be 102 beats per minute. Increase your level of activity over a 6-week period eventually getting your target heart rate up to 70 to 80% (80% would be 136).
A good place to start is with a mix of cardio and strength training. Walking, running, playing tennis, biking and swimming are all good cardio activities that will get your heart rate up to your target range. Of course before starting your exercise routine, be sure to warm-up with stretching both before and after working out.
If you have bad knees, then substitute an elliptical trainer for walking or running and don’t even think of playing tennis. With either cardio or strength training, adjust time/intensity and weight/repetitions to keep your heart rate in the appropriate range. With strength training, start out with light on weight and repetitions and work up.
The other half of getting fit is eating right. While you are at the doctor getting checked out to see if you are fit enough to start an exercise program, also ask about a nutrition plan. It will be different for you if you have to lose a lot of weight than it would be if you are already at the proper weight for your height and age.
Getting fit is about setting a goal and then gradually working up to reach that goal. Trying to reach your goal as quickly as possible is just asking for a debilitating injury which could set you back months.