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Everybody's got their healthy methods for winter

January 23, 2014 - Paul Giannamore
I have fought the good fight all winter against germs, but I have dealt with a deep sinus infection, the kind where your whole head is blocked up but you’re breathing OK through your nose. I just couldn’t hear and had a pounding headache for most of November. I also couldn’t sneeze.

I ate lousy -- or really well if you ignore the healthiness of what I was eating -- over the holidays. And after a round or two of antibiotics and a lot of Advil, I’m functioning OK. I actually enjoy a good sneeze every now and then and the headache is long gone. So far.

But The Boss (at Home), the grandkid, most of the people I have been supposed to interview during the past couple weeks for our Progress Edition, have been fighting colds and the flu.

So, after two more interview cancellations, I put forth the question to my crack squadron of experts -- my Facebook friends list -- just what do they do to be healthy in the winter?

The answers were wide ranging, but generally focused a lot on the stuff that your mom always said: Wash your hands. Cover your head. Get plenty of rest.

A lot of folks issued the reminder that staying hydrated -- drinking a lot of water every day -- helps.

One of my schoolteacher friends -- a Toronto native now living in Michigan, may God forgive her for that sin against Buckeye Nation -- gives evidence that it may not just be water but whatever fluid you drink. She drinks flavored coffees. And, she said that despite being exposed to pinkeye, strep and colds from the kids, she’s stayed healthy so far. May she continue to do so.

Another friend does what sounds like an absolute OD on Vitamin C -- 2,000 mg a day -- and 2,000 mg of fish oil a day. Says that’s worked for him for years. And his sleep isn’t always the best except on days when he doesn’t work.

There’s an advocate of Vitamin D3 and Echinacea.

Another friend says it’s all about the fresh air, getting outside for a walk every day. People, she says, don’t get enough fresh air. I would agree wholeheartedly, knowing that in the newsroom, where the air often gets stale, it seems that one person gets sick and then everyone else has it. Though that could be the sharing of computer keyboards and phones. I’ve cut down on getting everyone else’s ills since coming back after my two winters away from here by wiping down my keyboard and using my cell phone for all outside human contact.

Some friends say the antibacterial craze is ineffective, though one of our future in-laws via The Drummer said she works in a hospital and her hands are dry from all the hand sanitizer. I’m with her.

And one friend pointed out that a positive attitude helps.

Indeed, the long-ago boss whom I blasted here a few months ago for being the one person in my life who taught me nothing actually proves to have taught me one thing of value, go figure. He said he often simply willed himself not to get a cold when he started feeling not right. I’ve done that a couple times. It works. You just vow that you’re not going to get the cold and drink lots of OJ and go to bed after a workout. Egomaniacal, but effective.

And among my diverse group of friends and acquaintances that I’ve picked up through the past 51-plus years are these amazing choices:

-- A vegan lifestyle that avoids eating “diseased animals,” filtered water, wearing a hat and not ravaging the body with antibiotics -- no pills for 30 years. I can vouch I never remember ever seeing this lady with a cold. Ever. (But, sadly, the occasional burger will always find its way to my palate.) Another friend said she’s never sick and attributes it to her vegan diet. (Dang it, why do I like steaks and ham? Sniff sniff sneeze sneeze.)

-- Yoder’s Good Health Recipe, an Amish herbal tonic.

-- Pure luck and a gallon of OJ weekly.

-- Staying away from people who are sick. And quick use of Zicam. (I agree with both of those wholeheartedly.

-- An active lifestyle. (That does seem to help. When I was a 300-plus-pound slug, I had a cold from October to March. Now, it seems I get at most the one doozy deep sinus-swelling thing annually, far more bearable except for the headaches.)

-- Supplements and essential oils.

-- My nieice, who is blessed with living in Colorado where illness must not exist because of the beauty and the outdoors, said she makes sure the family gets greens at every meal (just like her grandmother Della used to. Mom was right.) Hot tea before bed, is also part of Robin’s prescription for a healthy winter. Oh, and working out four times a week. (Just like Uncle Paul.)

And then the good, fun ones that are always somewhere among my pals.

-- A shot of limonceo and apple pie. “The limoncelo gives you your Vitamin C and the apple pie is your fruit intake!!! They will kill about any bug you have!!”

-- Three to five pepperoncinis every day, all year long. (I never inquired about the state of his stomach lining, but the concept at least is tasty.)

And finally, the Marlboro Menthols and Jagermeister method.

Hmm. Sounds like warmth and bronchitis to me, but if it works for him…

I got to go wash my hands now. And be sure my hat is at the ready. And find my vitamins, liquor, veggies, hand sanitizer and...

Nobody mentioned chicken soup.


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