“In the bleak midwinter, frosty wind made moan,
earth stood hard as iron, water like a stone…”
Here we are in December with some three or four winter months still ahead and as the Christmas hymn “In The Bleak Midwinter” reminds us, the weather and temperatures can and almost always are rather grim.
Who can have the Flu Vaccination?
This cold, chilly and sometimes wet and windy weather often leads to an increase in the instances of coughs and colds especially so with vulnerable sections of society such as the elderly and those with long-term chronic illnesses like asthma or diabetes. It is important to try and avoid the flu if you or one of your relatives are susceptible and here in the UK we are fortunate in that our National Health Service provides a free flu vaccination each year to patients who fall into these groups ~
- aged 65 years of age or over
- pregnant mothers
- have certain medical conditions – check out the NHS Choices website here
- are living in a long-stay residential care home or other long-stay care facility
- receive a carer’s allowance, or are the main carer for an elderly or disabled person whose welfare may be at risk if the carer falls ill
- work in health or social care settings i.e: nurses, doctors, social workers etc
- children over the age of 6 months with a long-term health condition
- children in school years 1, 2 and 3.
- children aged 2, 3 & 4 on 31 August 2016 (born between 1 September 2011 & 31 August 2014)
Usually patients can easily arrange an appointment to receive flu vaccinations at their local doctors surgery, clinic or at some chemists or pharmacies.
Cold Care Remedies
If the flu vaccination isn’t for you then it’s worth keeping some inexpensive over the counter remedies in your medicine cabinet.
I’ve always got things like the widely available and quite cheap to buy paracetamol and ibuprofen to hand plus my trusty little pot of menthol crystals!
Menthol is a powerful and very minty decongestant. I purchase it in it’s powered/crystallised form of which a small teaspoon of crystals is added to a bowl of boiling water and then simply inhaled for almost instant relief from sinus congestion and any associated pressure or pain. It’s so simple, but so very effective!
If you haven’t ever heard of menthol crystals then just enquire at your local pharmacy or chemist.
To combat the aches and pains which usually accompany a cold there’s nothing more comforting than a hot bath with some therapeutic essential oils and sea salt which traditionally helps the body fight off viruses in addition to encouraging sweating, which of course is another way the body eliminates all those nasty toxins.
Try this sea salt bath which could help to flight off any flu symptoms ~
- Run a hot bath (it’s important to be aware of the risk of scalding) & mix into the bath water ~
- 1 cup of fine sea salt
- 4 drops of thyme essential oil
- 4 drops of eucalyptus essential oil
- 4 drops of rosemary essential oil
- take this bath just before bedtime and with a good nights sleep you should feel much better by morning.
The elderly and less able bodied amongst us do have different bathing needs, but can gain huge comforting benefits and perhaps even some pain relief from a nice hot soak. Specialist companies like Bathing Solutions provide customers with easy access baths, showers and even wet rooms and have been successfully doing so for over 25 years!
For a relaxing drink try making a hot toddy. There are many variations on a hot toddy, but here’s what I prefer ~
- pop the kettle on and while you’re waiting for it to boil…
- place in a heat proof glass or mug a large teaspoon of honey (Manuka honey is best) with a tot of your favourite brandy or rum plus a couple of slices of lemon & a squeeze of lemon juice
- pour on the boiling water
- & stir it altogether with a cinnamon stick
- if I’m really feeling unwell, I also add in a Lemsip or similar powdered cold remedy
Above all, keep warm and keep well this winter!