Natural Remedies For Cold and Flu

The best natural  remedies for cold and flu

Once an illness has struck, natural  remedies for cold and flu can help shorten the duration and get you feeling better faster. Here are a few recommendations that are backed by science.

1. Stay hydrated

My number one recommendation for recovering quickly from a cold or flu virus is to stay hydrated. I recommend 64 ounces of fluid a day, but talk to your doctor about your specific needs. Some people, such as those with congestive heart failure, should drink less water.

2. Vitamin C

Some studies have indicated that vitamin C can shorten the lifespan of a cold. Plus, it boosts your overall health, including your immune system. The best way to get vitamin C is by eating fresh food. The fresher the food, the better. Think oranges, rather than orange juice or supplements. Overdoing it on vitamin C supplements (not dietary vitamin C) can lead to upset stomach and kidney stones.

3. Sleep

Adequate sleep helps your immune system function at its best to ward off nasty viruses and bacteria.

4. Honey and tea

Honey has natural antiviral and antimicrobial properties. Add the natural sweetener (opt for a local variety when possible) to a cup of ginger or cinnamon tea to relieve a scratchy throat and stay hydrated.

5. Chicken soup

Sometimes mom really does know best! Hot liquids, such as soup, help reduce mucus buildup and keep you hydrated. A study from the University of Nebraska Medical Center found chicken soup has anti-inflammatory properties, which help reduce a cold’s unpleasant side effects.

6. Aromatherapy

Break up mucus by rubbing a bit of camphor or menthol salve around your nose. You can also reduce congestion by breathing in aromatherapy oils, such as peppermint and eucalyptus.

7. A steamy shower

A steamy shower or sauna is a great decongestant.  One caveat: If you are dizzy or weak from the flu, sit in a chair in your bathroom while you run a hot shower.

8. Gargling warm salt water

Dissolve 1/2 a teaspoon of salt in a cup of warm water, then gargle to relieve a sore throat.

9. Sleep with an extra pillow

To help your sinuses drain, sleep with an extra pillow under your head.


Nasal irrigation can be helpful in irrigating and hydrating nasal passages so they aren’t dry and cracked, which can break the skin’s protective barrier against viruses and bacteria. However, it’s important to do it safely. Never use tap water for nasal irrigation. The use of contaminated tap water for sinus rinsing has been linked to a rare, but potentially deadly brain infection. Use boiled and cooled tap water, sterile or distilled water, or saline solution instead.


Washing your hands often will help protect you from germs. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub.

Protecting Others

Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing. It may prevent those around you from getting sick. (Most experts believe that flu viruses spread mainly by droplets made when people with flu cough, sneeze or talk.)

Prevent Reinfection

Change your toothbrush at the first sign of a cold or the flu. These germs will sit on your toothbrush, usually in wet environment, and can reinfect you. Change your toothbrush as often as necessary.


Breast Cancer And How To Help Your Friend Or Relative Who Is Suffering


Breast Cancer And How To Help Those Who Are Suffering

Every three minutes, someone in this country is diagnosed with breast cancer.  And for every diagnosis, there are so many friends and family who desperately want to help, but have no idea what to do.

There is no one-size-fits-all answer, so we rely on our survivors for a  list of support ideas. You want to do something to show you care. Here is  insight into the acts of kindness your friend or family member may most appreciate.

How To Help

Be Present

Helping a friend diagnosed with cancer requires just being there. Sit there. Do not offer platitudes. Just hold your friend’s hand and let them talk when they need to. They need to talk about what’s happened. You will not be able to make the cancer go away. You can, however, help your friend feel safer. When they are scared, it’s important to know that someone is there.

When a friend is diagnosed with breast cancer, it’s not easy to find the right words. Don’t retreat from her because you’re afraid of saying the wrong thing. She needs you now more than ever, so go out of your way to be there and stay in touch.

Be A Listener

It’s a hard thing to do, sitting in someone’s pain with them, but that’s what your friend needs from you right now. It’s your natural instinct to want to make her feel better by saying things like, “You’ll be okay,” or “You’re so strong! You will beat this!” or “You’re only given what you can handle.” Saying these might make you feel better, but they won’t make her feel better, because you don’t really know that she’ll be okay.  Most of the survivors cautioned against offering platitudes or false assurances.

When you do talk, demonstrate how well you heard by restating what was said – this is a technique of reflective listening.  Good listening skills can be used to increase understanding, clear up any confusion and reinforce your supportive relationship, so sometimes the perfect words are none at all.

Offers Of Assistance

Your help with daily tasks and chores is often valuable for a friend with breast cancer. Normal chores and errands still have to be done while a friend is battling cancer, but these can be daunting. Offering practical help can often be the kindest thing you can do-this may include driving, house cleaning, laundry, childcare, meal preparation, grocery shopping, etc.

Be creative with the help you offer. Remember that your friend’s needs may change, so be flexible in shifting your plans as needed.

Be proactive-this means never say something like, “If you need anything, let me know,” or “Please call me if you need help.” Your friend will not call you in the midst of her anxiety.

Instead, think of things you know she’ll need help with, and get on it-just do it! Show up with groceries or meals, plan on driving to her medical appointments or her children to their activities, send a housekeeper, etc.  Do not wait to be asked because it will not happen.

Silent Messengers

Talking on the telephone takes more energy than people realize. Frequently, your friend may need rest during the day, so if she does not answer calls, do not take this personally. Cards, on the other hand, are perfect. She doesn’t have to exert energy to react to them. She can read them when it’s most convenient and reread them.

If you are not close by and can’t offer hands-on support, be a virtual supporter and help with her communications. A great way to help a breast cancer patient is to visit their page on a site like,, or (or help them set one up if they don’t have one). Such sites let people (or friends or family) build private or public communities where patient updates and schedules can be shared. I have created pages for a family member and several friends. This proved to be very helpful, especially for their caregivers, who had been besieged with calls and emails.


Treat your friend like a princess! Pamper her and yourself with a spa treatment, flowers to celebrate healing or treatment landmarks, a great book, shopping spree…anything to lift her spirits and make her feel special! Entertain your friend’s children for a day to give her a “quiet” day to relax.

  • Magazines, audio books, novels, books of short stories or poetry, or gift cards to purchase reading material
  • DVDs of movies, TV shows, or documentaries
  • Pictures of friends and family
  • Accessories (earrings, bracelets, scarves, ties, hats), makeup, or beauty items
  • Crossword or Sudoku puzzles
  • Note cards or a journal
  • A video message from family and friends
  • Gift certificates for massage, spa services, restaurants, or museum/art gallery passes
  • Portable hobby supply kits such as scrapbooking, drawing, needlepoint (my personal favorite)screen-shot-2016-10-14-at-3-13-07-pm









-anything that gives her joy outside of what she is going through and will take her away from the medical and put her back into everyday life.


Hope is an important part of giving support. Your attitude will affect everyone around you and brighten even the darkest days.

  • Talk with positive, upbeat people to recharge your own “hope battery.”
  • Feel free to shield your loved one from those who are negative or insensitive.
  • Stay positive, celebrate victories – no matter how small – and remain focused on the goals of treatment.

Lift your friend’s spirits as well as your own by planning and taking weekend trips, visits to friends, or working on a hobby that you both enjoy. Set a goal of openness and sharing-this will keep your relationship strong.



Falls In Elderly Account For 70% of Accidental Deaths in Older Population

A fall can change your life. Falls in elderly can lead to disability and a loss of independence.  Falls can cause physical and financial devastation. It’s critical to assess older adults’ strength, balance, and mobility to determine individual fall risk and educate all about fall prevention. The risk and frequency of falls increase with age and can lead to death.

A single fall is not always a sign of a major problem. The fall may simply be an isolated event. However, recurrent falls, defined as more than two falls in a six-month period, should be evaluated by a healthcare professional for treatable causes. Each year, millions of older people—those 65 and older—fall and less than half report this to their doctor.  Falling once doubles your chances of falling again.

Risk Factors for Falls In Elderly

A risk factor is something that increases a person’s risk or susceptibility to a medical problem or disease.

As the number of risk factors rises, so does the risk of falling. Many falls in elderly are linked to a person’s physical condition or a medical problem, such as a chronic disease. Other causes could be safety hazards in the person’s home or community environment. Here are the most important risk factors in the elderly that lead to falls:

  1.  Low blood pressure
  2. Vitamin D deficiency
  3. Medications and/or alcohol
  4. Vision problems
  5. Foot problems or footwear
  6. Fear of falling
  7. Home hazards
  8. Hypoglycemia
  9. Seizures
  10. Cognitive impairment
  11. Sensory deficits

Make Safety A Habit

Although falls can happen anywhere, well over half of all falls in elderly happen at home. Falls at home often happen while a person is doing normal daily activities. Some of these falls are caused by factors in the person’s living environment.

Other factors that can lead to falls at home include
  • loose rugs
  • clutter on the floor or stairs
  • carrying heavy or bulky things up or down stairs
  • not having stair railings
  • not having grab bars in the bathroom

Here are improvements to make in your living environment to improve your safety and prevent falls in elderly:

An important step toward preventing falls at home is to remove anything that could cause a trip or slip while walking. Tripping on clutter, small furniture, pet bowls, electrical or phone cords, or other things can cause a fall.  Slipping on rugs or slick floors can also cause falls.

Arrange furniture to allow plenty of room to walk freely. Also remove items from stairs, hallways, and pathways.

Be sure that carpets are secured to the floor and stairs. Remove throw rugs, use non-slip rugs, or attach rugs to the floor with double-sided tape.

Put non-slip strips on floors of bathtub and shower.

Be careful when walking outdoors and avoid going out alone on ice or snow. A simple slip on a slick sidewalk, a curb, or icy stairs could result in a serious injury.

During the winter, ask someone to spread sand or salt on icy surfaces. Be sure to wear boots with good traction if you must go out when it snows. Better yet, don’t take chances walking on icy or slippery surfaces.

Poor lighting — inside and outdoors — can increase your risk of falls. Make sure you have enough lighting in each room, at entrances, and on outdoor walkways.

 Good lighting on stairways is especially important. Light switches at both the top and bottom of stairs can help.

Place a lamp within easy reach of your bed. Put night lights in the bathroom, hallways, bedroom, and kitchen. Also keep a flashlight by your bed in case the power is out and you need to get up.

 Have handrails installed on both sides of stairs and walkways. If you must carry something while walking up or down stairs, hold the item in one hand and use the handrail with the other.

Properly placed grab bars in your tub and shower, and next to the toilet, can help to avoid falls.  Have grab bars installed, and use them every time you get in and out of the tub or shower. Be sure the grab bars are securely attached to the wall.

In addition to these recommendations, click here for a checklist to prevent or minimize falls in elderly.




Back To School Healthy Lunchbox Ideas









Back to School Healthy Lunchbox Ideas

A healthy lunch keeps active kids alert and focused and gives them the nutrition they need every day as they go back to school. But no matter how healthy your child’s lunch box is, it won’t provide any nutritional value if it doesn’t get eaten! Every mom or dad who makes lunches for kids knows the goals: avoid total jettisoning of lunch into trash by picky eater and hope your child doesn’t trade healthy apple for can of soda!

Ensure you include a range of fresh fruit and vegetables and vary the food daily so kids don’t become bored soon after going back to school.

Top tips for a healthy lunch box-
• Always include fresh fruit and vegetables.  Vary the selection to keep it interesting.
• Offer a variety of whole grain breads, rolls, pita bread and flat breads.
• Use avocado as a spread instead of butter or margarine or mayo.
• Use reduced fat dairy foods. Cheese and greek yoghurt are ideal.
• Kids need a serve of protein at lunchtime. Ensure you include lean meat, egg, peanut butter, chickpeas or tuna.
• Add a chilled bottle of water and limit juice.

Keep it fresh – packing the lunchbox 

Pack the school lunch in an insulated lunch box and include a small freezer brick or freeze a bottle of water and pop it into the lunchbox to keep food cool.

Helpful tips for adding fresh fruit and vegetables to lunch boxes
• Kids like fresh fruit cut and ready to eat.  Fruit salad is the ideal lunch box solution; it’s colourful, easy to eat and bursting with vitamins. Try a fruit kebob for fun and variety.
• Freeze fruits in the summer or for sport days.  Simply pop the frozen fruit into a small sealable plastic bag or airtight container.
• If including whole fruit in the lunchbox, select fruit that is a suitable size for a child to easily hold in their hand and eat (this is particulary important for younger children).
• Peel and slice or cut fruit if possible and choose seedless varieties, when available.
• If you’ve added tomato to sandwiches, place the tomato between fillings and not directly onto the bread.  This prevents the bread becoming soggy.
• When using avocado, mash or drizzle with a little lemon or lime juice to prevent the avocado from discolouring.
• A mild tasting and crunchy lettuce variety like Iceberg  is ideal for kids.
• Add leftover (or cook extra) roast pumpkin or sweet potato to sandwiches, wraps and roll fillings.  Naturally sweet and loaded with beneficial antioxidants, roast vegetables team well with a range of fillings.
• Make salads or salad sandwich fillings interesting by using a range of vegetables like grated carrot, snow pea sprouts, lettuce or rocket or baby spinach, sliced celery, tomatoes, avocado and cucumber.

When kids help pack their lunch, they’re more likely to eat that lunch! On nights you have a bit more time, like Sundays, have them choose which piece of fruit or what type of whole grain bread they want and let them assemble their lunch. Make this a weekly routine – it’s another great way to spend family time together.