Happy Friday lovelies! Only one week until Christmas and this girl is battling a raging cold. The festivities of Christmas have been so difficult to partake in because I’ve felt so sick and no one enjoys a sneezing, coughing mess of a person in their midst. Who can blame them, right? It’s the third week I’ve had this cold and it isn’t letting up. After seeing the doctor twice, I was told that it was a particularly strong virus going around town and people are experiencing symptoms for weeks on end. Mind you, symptoms can include coughing so hard you lose your lunch and ear pain. Since she determined that this thing was here to stay for awhile longer, I’ve developed methods for quick symptom relief. At some point you’re going to catch something too, so remember these helpful tips for the future!
How to Cope With a Cold
Stock up on supplies- Kleenex, cough drops, Nyquil, Dayquil, Vick’s Vapor Rub, and basically the entire aisle of cold/flu medicine in Walgreens. Don’t let yourself get close to running out of anything. There’s nothing worse than needing a kleenex and realizing you have to use toilet paper instead because you’re out of the other.
Drink the tea- Coffee is my bestie but it makes my vocal chords extra sticky (because there’s so much sugar in my creamer) and therefor a lot harder to cough or get mucus out. Tea is much better and provides many natural vitamins that you need to help fight illness. Theraflu makes a great night time tea!
Water is your friend- In addition to that tea, drink a lot of water to help loosen and thin the mucus in your throat. When you have a coughing fit, your body will thank you for the extra help.
Take a steamy shower- Not only do I hate feeling like I have sickness sitting on top of my skin, I really hate having a stuffed up nose. Taking a hot shower solves both of these problems. Consider hanging herbs like Eucalyptus in the shower so they can release their healing properties while you rinse off.
Remove stale air- Our homes are closed up tight during the winter creating a breeding ground for germs and smelly air. If you can stand it, leave a window cracked in several rooms to “blow the stink out” as my grandma used to say. If this isn’t an option, employ a humidifier in the house to add moisture to the dry air.
I’m always interested in learning about how others deal with common illnesses like a cold. Leave a comment with your favorite way to feel better!
A few months back, I got in touch with an amazing blogger who just so happens to be a dermatologist! Wiggin Lee of Prescription for Style, shares with us some winter weather skin care secrets!
Skin Care for the Chilly Air
The key to keeping your skin smooth and soft is to keep it moisturized. Unfortunately, this can be really difficult for anyone with naturally dry skin or any degree of eczema (atopic dermatitis). During the winter time, especially, your skin is also more prone to becoming dehydrated, itchy, scaly, and even crack. So what is the best moisturizer out there?
With so many different brands (Aveeno, Cetaphil, Aquaphor, etc) along with the many types of moisturizers (lotions, creams, ointments, etc), choosing an over-the-counter product can be extremely confusing and daunting. In this post, I will try my best to help you decide on what moisturizer to use and the best way to protect your skin from the cold winters.
Our outer layer of our skin (the epidermis) is made up of several different layers and types of skin cells. The epidermis is responsible for retaining water, thermoregulation, and protection from trauma and infections. However, when this protective layer is under harsh conditions such the winter wind chill, frigid temperatures, blasting heaters, and dry weather, microscopic damage (tiny cracks, if you will) is made and water is loss more readily. Dry, damaged skin is then more prone to more microscopic damage and this can cause inflammation (redness) and itching. In order to keep the skin hydrated and smooth, it is important to 1) replenish the water and 2) seal the cracks and seal in the water. This is where moisturizers come into play.
Types of Moisturizers:
The different types of moisturizers (lotions, creams, ointments) actually ARE different. They are each unique percentages of water vs. oil. Determining which type of moisturizer works best for you is more important than any specific brand you use. **Sometimes creams are advertised as lotions and ointments as creams-this does not matter too much as long as the consistency works for you**
Lotions: >50% water, <50% oil
Lotions are thinner than creams and usually come in a pump bottle or tube. They are light in consistency and quickly absorb into the skin after applying. While they aid in rehydrating the skin, they are less effective in sealing in the moisture. Most over-the-counter (available without a prescription at drugstores) moisturizers are lotions and they are great for mild to moderate dry skin. Many also have added fragrances which make them smell great, so if you are allergic to fragrances, please avoid these as a rash may result.
Creams are much thicker than lotions and usually come in tubes (where you squeeze it out like toothpaste) or jars because they are too thick to pump. Creams are a great option for moderate to severe dry skin as it works to 1) rehydrate by replenishing water to the skin and 2) seal it in and prevent further moisture loss. This is probably the best type of moisturizer for protecting your skin during the winter.
These products also come in tubes and have the consistency of Vaseline. They are the thickest type of moisturizer and can often feel greasy. Because they are only 20% water, they do not absorb well into the skin and also do not rehydrate the skin as much. Ointments are used more for the purposes of protecting the skin. It is best used to protect a wound (also decreases the formation of a scar), severely cracked skin, or chapped lips.
In addition to using products to hydrate your skin, don’t forget to hydrate your body! Drinking the recommended 8 cups of water a day (yes, that’s in 1 day!) is not only important for skin hydration, but also important for the rest of your health including your kidneys, heart, gastrointestinal system, and much more.
2. Take warm (not hot) showers
Don’t take super hot showers as they can end up damaging and drying your skin more. Warm water showers are recommended.
3. Apply your moisturizer after you shower
After you take a warm shower, pat (not scrub) dry with a towel, and apply your preferred moisturizer. This allows the water from the shower to be absorbed to its maximum capacity and seals it in. Hope this information helps keep your skin hydrated and smooth through the winter!
If you have any questions, comments, or suggestions, please feel free to contact me through the “contact and collaborations” tab on my blog, Prescription for Style.