FIGHTING COOTIES -Tips to keep you healthy in the classroom & home

No, you are not paranoid! The children are totally out to get you. What you are feeling is the side-effect from perpetual battle teachers and parents have been fighting against, kids and their . . . cooties. Well, maybe it’s not the kids themselves, or technically called cooties, but children are the hosts of a smorgasbord of viruses trying to take you down, and, right now is the height of flu, cold, and stomach bug season. Okay, I sound completely paranoid. In my defense, I have gone to battle with 3 walking Petri-dishes and I’m getting weary if not on the verge of catching something myself. I, like you have washed hands till they are cracked, bathed in hand sanitizer, disinfected surfaces (covered desks in shaving cream), and opened windows during arctic temperatures and the cooties are infiltrating the front line defenses. How do you stay well in a classroom filled with Sneezy, Queasy and Snotty, trapped in tight settings? Here are a few tips from teachers and parents who seem to remain healthy among the sick.
TIP #1 – GARLIC – One preschool teacher’s tip for staying cold and flu free not only keeps the vampires away, but her daily ritual has viruses retreating, even when students sneeze in her face. (FYI – a sneeze can travel 100 miles per hour) Each morning she takes a fresh clove of garlic and minces out a teaspoon and chases it with a glass of orange juice. Not a fan of garlic for breakfast? Increase your general intake throughout the day for lunch or snacks, with a clove or two in salad dressing or a hummus dip. Keep in mind, garlic’s cold fighting property is reduced when cooked.
TIP #2- HYDRATE – It’s chilly outside and you may not feel it is necessary to drink all of that water (8+glasses) but the dry forced heat many of us work in is sapping the water right out of our bodies, making us susceptible to the cooties. Is the idea of a cold drink giving you the chills? Warm up your water and add a squeeze of citrus for some additional health benefits. Keep your warm beverage in a thermos and close by for frequent use.
TIP #3- GARGLE – Clear the gunk out of the back on your throat with a glass of salt water. In a study published in The American Journal of Preventive Medicine, researchers recruited approximately 400 healthy volunteers and followed them for 60 days during cold and flu season. Some of the subjects were told to gargle three times a day. At the end of the study period, the group that regularly gargled had a nearly 40 percent decrease in upper respiratory tract infections compared with the control group, and when they did get sick, “gargling tended to attenuate bronchial symptoms,” the researchers wrote.
TIP #4 – GO TO THE LIGHT – It may be tough to find the sun during the winter months with short days and overcast skies but your name shall be Sun Chaser and the benefit will be a boost in vitamin D which helps support calcium metabolism, neuromuscular and immune system functions. There is a hot spot in the morning in my bedroom that I enjoy and it seems to also lift my mood.
TIP #5- CATCH A SENSE OF HUMOR– Get your laughter on. It may help keep the cooties away. It won’t hurt. Increased stress is associated with decreased immune system response. Some studies have shown that the ability to use humor may raise the level of infection-fighting antibodies in the body and boost the levels of immune cells. Read a funny book. Watch a comedy. My favorites always include Jim Carey. The man is just downright goofy!
Keep your head up and fight the good fight! Crush those cooties by making empowering choices that boost your immunity and keep you happy, healthy and well. Share your cootie fighting strategies in the comment box below.

~Sammy @TURNING STONEchoice
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