Winter weather is in full force and cold, windy weather wreaks havoc on our bodies. It’s a good time to stock up on simple, handy supplies to help you combat winter illnesses. Make sure you have everything you need in your home to battle these common ailments.
Chapped Lips: I don’t know about you but my lips are almost always chapped in the winter months. There is nothing worse than dry, cracked, chapped lips. A good lip balm or oil can help protect your delicate lips from the cold. Products containing beeswax or petroleum work well to hold in moisture. Ointments with coconut oil, cocoa butter, petroleum jelly are all good moisturizing options. Apply to lips regularly and slather some on before you go to sleep.
We love the cooling sensation of Blistex and Neosporin Overnight Renewal Therapy to lock in moisture while we sleep. Both of these products can both be found at your local pharmacy or Target.
Dry Skin: The list of culprits that can cause dry skin is a long one, but wicked winter weather almost always wreaks havoc on my skin. The cold and wind are known to dry out to the skin of the face, hands, and feet. The good news is that you don’t necessarily need to visit a dermatologist to heal your dry skin. Find an “ointment” moisturizer that’s oil-based, rather than water-based, as the oil will create a protective layer on the skin that retains more moisture than a cream or lotion. Also while sweet-smelling herbs and organic ingredients probably don’t make much of a difference to your skin, there’s one key addition that can help: lactic acid. Creams with lactic acid as one of the top ingredients will help you retain moisture.
Products like Vaseline and Aquaphor can really help relieve persistently dry patches, but we recommend using these products mainly at night as they are a little sticky.
Sore Throat: Some sore throats are caused by a viral infection, such as a cold or the flu, but even sleeping with your mouth open in the winter can cause a sore throat. If you find yourself with a dry, sore throat, having something hot or cold to drink can be soothing. Try a cup of tea with honey or a cup of water. Honey has antibacterial and antioxidant properties and known to soothe a sore throat. If your throat is more sore than dry, try sucking on a popsicle or ice cubes to temporarily numb your throat and reducing the pain. Sucking on lozenges or hard candy can help your dry throat because this can stimulate more saliva production and some have analgesic property to aid in numbing the soreness.
Lozenges are the easiest remedy if you are on the go, go for honey, lemon or mint flavor for a calming or cooling effect. Brands such as Chorlaseptic and Halls have many flavor choices and also offer sugar -free options.
Stuffy Nose: A stuffy nose can be annoying. Many people think a stuffy nose is the result of too much mucus in the nasal passages. However, a clogged nose is actually caused by inflammation of blood vessels in the sinuses. These irritations are usually triggered by a cold, the flu, allergies, a sinus infection or winter dry air. Using a nasal saline spray can increase the moisture in your nostrils. The spray decreases the inflammation of your blood vessels and helps empty fluids from your nose. Vicks VapoRub can be applied under your nose and on your chest, it will help to open nasal passageways and allow for breathing easier.
Nasal Saline sprays such as the one above and Vicks Vapo Rub can easily be found in local drug and convenience stores.
Body Aches & Pain: Whether its from the cold chill in your bones, shoveling snow or an illness, body aches seem more prevalent in the winter months. Pain isn’t just a physical sensation, it can have emotional effects too – making us feel slow and tired. There is no one explanation for why dropping temperatures affect your joints. One theory relates to drops in barometric pressure, which causes tendons, muscles, and the surrounding tissues to expand. Because of the confined space within the body, this can cause pain, especially in joints affected by arthritis.
Hot bath water naturally soothes achy muscles, I like to add Epsom salt to assist with relieving muscle pain. If your pain is more severe and you feel it needs to be treated with medication, you may want to take an over-the-counter pain reliever such as Tylenol or Motrin.
Generally speaking, it is a good idea to stay hydrated, keep moving and get plenty of rest for these long, cold winter days! For those of us that suffer during the cold weather, thankfully our winter is only a few months and spring is closer with each passing day!