snowmanWhoever said spring is just around the corner probably uttered the words over the weekend just passed, when beautiful sunny weather teased us and allowed our thoughts to drift to temperatures of a more balmy nature.

From where I sit right now, tapping out this month’s blog, it’s grey, bleak, miserable, wet and every inch wintry outside. It has been like that all working week and those far more skilled in weather forecasting than a hospital CEO tell us there’s plenty more on the way.

But I guess we shouldn’t complain as there’s something special in all the seasons, the winter months providing a great – and regular – excuse for being just a tad sedentary, stoking up the log fire and cuddling up with our significant other, ideally with a nice glass of red adding to the company and conviviality.

It’s true, though, that our health generally suffers in the winter months, with congested colleagues and feverish family members and friends a constant reminder that it’s a season when we need to be especially kind and generous to ourselves.

As we’re inclined to feel a little fatigued and low on energy, I thought I’d share a few practical – and not-so-practical – tips on how best to fight back and win if and when the dreaded winter lurgy strikes.

The best way to tackle the common cold – and gentlemen, please pay attention here as although we are all very quick to announce that we have that most debilitating of illnesses, the man-flu, when it’s more often than not just a cold – is not to make a beeline for antibiotics.

I say this because our bodies are designed to deal with colds. It’s only when the case becomes severe – and yes, that means a whole lot more grave than man-flu – that we should turn to medical advancements for support.

In most cases, the following top tips will more than suffice:

  • Drink plenty of fluids, preferably water, juice, clear broth and warm water with lemon and honey, the latter being particularly effective in helping to loosen congestion. Tea is also fine, but the decaffeinated options are best;
  • Ease a sore and raspy throat with a simple saltwater gargle as it works a lot better than many costly medications;
  • Similarly, saline drops can reduce stuffiness and congestion without leaving you with those lousy side effects of the more expensive decongestants;
  • Blow your nose often – and always the right way, which is gently and one nostril at a time; and
  • Take a steamy shower, preferably alone as you don’t want to spread your germs, as humidity is a great help.

If none of these do it for you, you might like to consider:

  • The ‘dirty sock’ remedy, where you grease your throat with lard or chicken fat before placing a dirty sock around it; or perhaps
  • A generous serve of lizard soup, which I’m told is a Hong Kong custom and, made with dried lizards, yams and dates, is a step up from the old chicken soup – although I am not sure how you’ll go sourcing the dried lizard!

In all seriousness, time is the greatest healer of colds so treat your symptoms responsibly and get plenty of rest. And before you know it, you will be bouncing around in eager anticipation of those fast-approaching warmer months when we can switch our complaints from the frigid to the unbearably hot…

Oh the circle of life!

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