Spring is officially here, and I can't wait to begin enjoying the progressively warmer weather and spending more time outdoors.
I'm in the midst of getting over a head cold that has left me feeling like my head is about 2 miles wide. As uncomfortable and inconvenient as a typical head cold is, I consider myself super blessed that it's not something worse.
While aromatherapy won't keep you from getting sick, I've learned firsthand that diffusing anti-viral and anti-bacterial essential oils have reduced the number of colds and flus that I get, and when I become ill, my symptoms don't seem quite as severe.
In simplistic terms, the regular but safe use of essential oils has kept my immune system healthy and has helped to ward off the bacteria, viruses and microbes that can lead to illnesses. These same principals can potentially also help you lessen the risk of contracting the H1N1/Swine Flu virus.
Read AromaWeb's article Reducing the Risk of Contracting H1N1, Flus and Colds With Aromatherapy to view a quicklist of ways that you can use aromatherapy to help stay as H1N1, cold and flu-free as possible. Look to the end of the article for a list of antibacterial, anti-viral, expectorant and decongestant essential oils.
The following aromatherapy and general tips also helped me in lessening the severity of my cold:
- I love utilizing a wide array of diffusers and choose the diffuser type to match what I'm up to. For prayer, meditation, romantic moments and quieter times, I prefer the ambiance and glow of candle diffusers. When I'm ill, I use my nebulizing diffusers from Diffuser World combined with anti-bacterial and/or anti-viral oils. For more information, read AromaWeb's All About Diffusers article. For a list of essential oils especially helpful for colds and the flu, read Reducing the Risk of Contracting H1N1, Flus and Colds With Aromatherapy.
- The steam from showers can be comforting to nasal passages. Add a few drops of your chosen anti-bacterial/anti-viral oil to the back ledge of your shower (but keep the oil from directly contacting your skin). The heat and steam will vaporize the oil.
- I've read from multiple sources that sugars can suppress your immune system. The orange juice that you might typically drink when you are sick might actually be doing more harm than good. Definitely drink fluids and get your Vitamin C from low-sugar sources, but consider limiting the amount of sugars and juice that you consume.
- I've also read that dairy can cause a lot of added congestion and mucous build-up. I've personally noticed a correlation with that. Ice cream might be soothing to your sore throat, but that comforting ice cream might wind up making you feel sicker in the long run with its typically high dairy and sugar content.
- When my nose is severely plugged, I tend to breath through my mouth at night. That leads to chapped lips if I don't plan ahead and use a lip balm. Using my handmade lip balm kept my lips moisturized and chap-free. I typically use Peppermint Essential Oil in my lip balms, but I also make a few tubes without it for use if my lips become especially sensitive.
- After plowing through at least a couple boxes of Kleenex, the exterior of my nostrils and upper lip area begin to feel raw. I make a "nose balm" that resembles a lip balm and that I store properly labeled in a lip balm tube (using my nose balm on my lips would be just plain gross). Instead of peppermint that can cause further irritation to such a sensitive area, I tend to add just a hint of Tea Tree Essential Oil or Manuka Essential Oil.
- I discovered years ago that allowing myself to become too inactive when sick can lead to a greater likelihood of fluid building up in my lungs. I tend to steer clear of full cardio when sick. But within reason, I strive to do a modest number of pushups, roman sit ups and other exercises once every hour or two so that I keep my lungs active without excessively straining myself. This also helps prevent getting stiff from inactivity. This is not a safe practice for everyone and depends on how ill you are. If you think it's a good idea for you, talk it over with your doctor.
- I'm a former smoker. If you smoke, you are at a much greater risk for developing bronchitis and pneumonia. I'll replay that broken record for you: Don't quit quitting.
- Keep a small supply of your chosen over the counter cold or flu products on hand so that you don't have to scramble to the drugstore to get what you need. It's inconvenient not only to you but also to all the other shoppers who you risk infecting. Medications do expire, so be careful about not stocking up too heavily.
- I've discovered that when I get especially sick, I tend to get "stupid" and don't remember to utilize all I've learned about aromatherapy to help combat my symptoms. So now, I plan ahead, make sure that I'm stocked with my favorite handmade products and those over the counter products that personally help me, and I keep a list of what I should be doing.