‘Tis the season to be …

Dr. Clayton Lawrence, CEO, shares his thoughts in a weekly column focused on overall wellness in an otherwise toxic world. (Always consult with your own physician before beginning any new diet/exercise routine).

While it may be the “season to be jolly” for many, it also can be a season spent in bed due to various illnesses – especially for students and those who work in the healthcare or childcare setting. The holiday season is synonymous with one highly contagious and extremely dreadful illness in particular – the flu. Not to be confused with gastroenteritis (what some people refer to as the stomach flu), this upper respiratory illness affects the nose, throat and lungs, can range from mild to severe, brings with it high fevers, chills and body aches, and can be deadly for small children, older adults and those with compromised immune systems. It’s also cold season, which presents as a much milder upper respiratory sickness, and who could forget the stomach bug, which never goes out of season.

Staying healthy can seem like an uphill battle, but with a few extra precautions during the winter months, effectively fighting germs can be as easy as ABC.

A – Take ACTION. No one can fight for your health as much as you can, so it’s important to be your own best advocate. Communicate with your doctor if an illness seems to linger longer than it should, such as a cough that won’t go away, stomach or intestinal issues that last longer than 10 days or a fever that continues to return. Wash your hands often with hot soapy water, consider the benefits of being vaccinated against the flu and listen to your body when it is in need of fluids and rest.

B – BE mindful of others. If we all just took a bit more time when illness strikes to fully recover, we would greatly decrease the chances of spreading germs and disease to our families, friends and co-workers. All too often, we try to bounce back too quickly to meet deadlines or prepare for upcoming tests, but this not only means a slower recovery for us, but the spread of illness to others. Do yourself (and others) a favor and stay home when sick. Quarantine yourself to an area of the house that will allow for a quiet recovery without the chances of making others ill.

C – CARE for yourself. No one wants to be sick with a cold, the stomach bug or the flu. But pretending we’re not feeling sick doesn’t make it go away – it just makes things worse. Take some time to care for yourself. Draw a hot bath, put on your comfy pajamas and really allow the body to rest. Doing so allows the immune system to better fight infection, leading to a faster recovery time. Along with resting, staying hydrated and enjoying some hot soups or broths can provide comfort and relief.