Living in a cold climate, such as we do in Michigan, can sometimes leave us a bit slower than usual and a lot sicker than usual. Even though spring is right around the corner, as I sit here watching the first of a big snow roll in, I thought I could offer some ideas to boost your health and your mood in this time before we turn our thoughts to seed sewing and barbecues. With cold and flu season in full force right now and on through spring, maybe this post is not quite as late as I feared.
To help prevent catching these nasty bugs, and to help keep from sharing them with those in your life, I can’t stress enough the importance of washing your hands. Of course, our moms told us to wash our hands as kids, and our doctors tell us that, and even public restrooms post signs reminding employees to wash their hands, and how to wash their hands. I won’t detail the how to. I trust that you already know how. If, in the case of no running water around, you could resort to the harsh alcohol based hand sanitizers that are being hyped everywhere, or you can kill germs and smell good by using On Guard essential oil blend. Deb and I each always carry small bottles of On Guard with us, and we use it every day. When I can’t get to a sink, I put a drop in my hand, and rub. doTERRA also makes a whole line of products using On Guard, from Foaming Hand Wash to wipes and toothpaste. On Guard smells great (think orange and clove) and contains oils that can kill bacteria, mold and viruses. We diffuse it in our house using our beautiful Lotus Diffuser pretty much daily. We make sure to diffuse more often if one or both of us is starting to feel a bug coming on, or if we have friends coming over who may be sharing latent germs with us. With Deb’s immune system compromised, we always want our home to feel welcoming, yet she needs some extra support to stay healthy. Using On Guard or Breathe oil blends in the diffuser lets us open our home with confidence and love.
We have invested in some empty roller bottles (kind of like mini deodorant roll-on bottles). We each keep a roller bottle of On Guard nearby as we are getting dressed for the day, and again, right before we crawl in for a winter’s nap. We roll the On Guard on the bottoms of our feet to help our bodies fight off anything we are exposed to. The feet have large pores, which draw in the oils and send them into the bloodstream very quickly and efficiently. Also, the feet have reflexology points that correspond to all of the vital organs and systems of the body. As those areas are stimulated, especially with the added love of the oils, each system is stimulated to help it function properly and stay healthy. (Other oils also can be used this way as well.) The ears and hands have reflexology points for each part of the body, too. Remember the trick of using On Guard when you don’t have water around? You can also use that moment to stimulate the reflexology points in your hands.
I work with teenagers, so of course, I am exposed to colds, flu, MRSA, ringworm, and any other kind of ick that you can think of. These oils help to keep me healthy, but inevitably, no matter how diligent I am, at some point, something is bound to catch up with me, and through me, to Deb.
In our time since committing to using Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade doTERRA oils whenever possible instead of prescription or over the counter medications, we have stayed healthier and have recovered quicker than ever before. We definitely do still see our doctors and nurse practitioners (and veterinarians, for our pets), but we try to rely on natural remedies first. (Since doTERRA came into our lives, I have not had to take NSAIDS for pain, and Deb has been antibiotic and emergency room free for the longest time in about ten years! Even our doctors and veterinarians have perked up their ears and want to know more about our success with the oils.)
I have had three instances this season where I began to get really bad ear aches. Each time, I thought I would have to go on antibiotics for an ear infection, but committed to try the the oils first. Basil oil is most recommended for ear aches and ear infections, but we haven’t yet fully stocked up on every oil, so I used the next in line of recommendations. I took a bit of doTERRA’s melaleuca alternifolia oil on my fingertips and massaged my entire ear with it. (just a drop or two is all it takes). I worked all around the rim and lobes of my ears, and also massaged the interior part of my outer ear. I did not put the oil in my ear canal. There are cautions against that. (Besides, I am very careful of my ears since my brother punctured his eardrum when we were little.) The pressure in my ears was bad enough to make my jaw, neck and head hurt, so I put a bit more on my fingertips and massaged behind my ears and down the side of my neck, following the path of my eustachian tubes, where I could feel the congestion, inflammation, and pressure. I also tugged lightly on my ear lobes, helping the oils to work better into the tubes. I did this 2-3 times in a day, and each time I had the problem, my ears were fine by the next day, usually much quicker. (I also put a drop of On Guard in my mouth 3-4 times per day when I felt the infection begin.) Phew! Doctor visit, antibiotics and pain averted!
Deb and I did both end up with the creepy crud cold going around. Sneezing, coughing, headaches, just general miserable feeling. Because of Deb’s lack of a working immune system, it took her a few weeks to totally get over it. Keep in mind, that a year ago, this would have meant a trip tot he doctor’s office and anti-viral drugs, along with an antibiotic to prevent the viral infection from turning into a bacterial one as the cooties collected in her mucus membranes to percolate. (And, of course, there would have been side effects from the antibiotics to boot.)
The cold hit fast and hard. I was supposed to sing in church in a few days, and I was so congested and snotty and miserable that the minister was already trying to decide how to replace me in the service. I assured her that I’d be able to sing, but I may sound a bit nasally and scratchy, but I should have most of the sneezing, coughing and groaning in misery over by Sunday’s service. That conversation was on Monday. I used ⅔ of a large box of tissue on Monday alone! Tuesday was our official planning session meeting, and she was very surprised when I walked in with Monday's red nose, but only an occasional sniffle and a voice a bit gruffer than usual. I assured her that at that rate, I would be fine and ready to sing on Sunday. (I was ready, and it went great, even with two accapella solos. Not scratchy, not nasally, and I could hear my pitch perfectly, which I couldn’t if I was full of mucus.)
Here is what we did to get well:
*We diffused doTERRA’s On Guard and Breathe essential oil blends, alternating them each time the diffuser ran out of water.
*We used Zicam, an over the counter natural cold remedy consisting mainly of zinc.
*We used On Guard on the bottoms of our feet and put it in our water-plenty of water.
*We used doTERRA’s Breathe essential oil blend to keep our lungs open, with just a bit under the nose.
*We got plenty of rest. (I even called in to work one night because, working midnights, a good, restful healing sleep is hard to come by.)
*We watched funny movies (laughter stimulates the immune system).
*We gargled with 2 tablespoons warm water mixed with 3 drops lemon oil and 2 drops of Frankincense. We gargled with this solution for 45-60 seconds then held it in the mouth for another 15-30 seconds, then swallowed the whole thing. The taste wasn’t bad at all. (The first time, I meant to use lemon and On Guard, but grabbed the Frankincense on accident. When I gargled with it, My sore throat was IMMEDIATELY relieved. Deb’s result was a bit slower, but again, she does not have a functioning immune system and she did get better!
*We bought Puffs with lotion, since the regular tissues just weren’t protecting our worn-out noses. I usually don;t care what tissues I use, but I have to say that I felt so much better honking into those.
*We ate soup and spicy food. Soup just makes you feel better, and hot spices are a traditional folk remedy for colds and flu. Spicy food also tastes good, although our taste buds were barely working.
*We drank tea, and limited our dairy because dairy can cause mucus buildup.
*We tried to be patient and compassionate with one another.
*When at work, I sprayed my work area down with a solution made up of 4oz water, a drop or two of On Guard, and a few drops of lemon. This not only sanitizes the area and smells good, but it likely helped prevent my cooties from being passed on to my coworkers. with the same solution, I also sprayed down my steering wheel, blinker switch,, door handles, radio dials, etcetera. After all, I kept sneezing while driving and closed up in that small space.
That is how we are dealing with this winter's round of sickness. You may try one or all of them. You may have some tips that I didn't mention. We would love to hear from you and how you are maneuvering this cold and flu season.