As the winter season settles in, coughs and colds and an overall dry, parched feeling come along with it. Things such as drinking tea, taking vitamins, and getting enough rest is a big part of making it through another uncomfortable season. Here are 6 must-have items to make it through the dry winter season.
A humidifier should be at the top of the list when it comes to making it through the dry winter season, as this compact device literally puts moisture back into the air by means of water vapour. Humidifiers can help to soothe common winter ailments such as dry sinuses, sore throats, bloody noses, and cracked lips. Plus, they may also help ease symptoms of a cold or other respiratory condition, and can even help in preventing the spread of influenza, according to one study.
With little ones in the house, it’s best to avoid steam vaporizers as the hot water inside can cause burns if spilled. Stick to a cool-mist humidifier for best results. Brands such as Vicks, Honeywell, and HoMedics all have high ratings from Consumer Reports.
Additionally, always follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for maintaining your humidifier in order to avoid potential problems such as mold or too high humidity levels.
Nothing says winter like the sting of dry, cracked hands. Add in increased hand-washing as a result of COVID-19 and influenza season, and a quality hand cream is another essential item for your winter supplies.
Hand cream works by adding and keeping moisture within the skin. Ingredients such as occlusives (lanolin, mineral oil, silicone) hold water in, while humectants (glycerin, honey, aloe vera) draw in water, and emollients (plant oils, mineral oils, shea and cocoa butter) fill in rough spots.
Global News did an extensive evaluation of many popular hand creams in 2020 and found Eucerin Aquaphor Healing Ointment, Burt’s Bees Shea Butter Hand Repair Cream, and Lush Helping Hands hand cream to be some of the best performing options.
When a sore throat hits — whether from a cold or a dry environment — a throat lozenge can help provide relief. Additionally, there’s research that suggests taking high dose zinc lozenges at the onset of a cold may help reduce symptoms.
Our family prefers the Ricola brand, which is safe for kids and contains a tincture of 10 organic herbs. For kids who prefer a less intense sensation, Cepacol Children’s Fruity Strawberry, Sore Throat lozenges are also a hit in our house.
While a nutritious diet is certainly the best way to get the vitamins and minerals your body needs, there are some supplements that can help, should you find yourself under the weather. Studies have shown that vitamin C can help to reduce the duration and the severity of the common cold for both adults and children alike, and those who supplement with zinc within 24 hours of the onset of cold symptoms experience a decrease of approximately 33% in the duration of their cold.
Additionally, there have been many clinical trials that found that regular supplementation with probiotics provides protective effects against influenza infection. Plus, it can lower your chance of catching the common cold, while reducing the severity of your symptoms and cold duration if you start taking it at the first sign of symptoms.
When winter dryness or a cold hit, put on the kettle and let a hot cup of tea ease your symptoms. The warmth of a hot cup of tea is soothing for dry, sore throats, and also helps to keep you hydrated. Kids can enjoy caffeine-free herbal teas such as chamomile and mint, while adults can benefit from the immune-boosting properties of green and black teas.
Neti pot/nasal aspirator
Nasal congestion is not only uncomfortable during the day, but it can also make sleep at night a real challenge, especially for little ones who haven’t fully mastered their nose-blowing technique. A neti pot or nasal aspirator can be a real saviour for these times.
While younger tots aren’t likely to tolerate the sensation of a neti pot, for older kids and parents, it offers an effective, medication-free means of clearing the sinuses. The Himalayan Chandra is a popular choice, while I can personally vouch for the ease and effectiveness of the NeilMed Sinus Rinse Kit.
Wee ones will appreciate the relief offered by a nasal aspirator such as the popular NoseFrida. Our family never found bulb syringes to be very effective, but the KidsMedic Infant Nasal Aspirator has good reviews and might be worth a try if you prefer a bulb syringe.