Monday, December 11, 2006

'tis the season...

...for coughs, colds, sniffles, sneezes, and (godforbid) the 'flu. And as most teachers know, working in a school filled with germy, sleep-deprived kids spells exposure to all kinds of nasty bugs and viruses.

So how to stay healthy? Unfortunately, there's no surefire method. Eating right, sleeping well, and avoiding stress (ha) are probabably the best ways to stay healthy, along with dressing for the weather and washing one's hands frequently. Getting a 'flu shot is probably a good idea, too, especially if you're older or have a compromised immune system.

If the above fails and you do start to feel a cold coming on, here are some last-ditch remedies, all available online or in your nearby drugstore:

-A few people I know swear that loading up on vitamin C and zinc is a nearly foolproof way to stave off a cold. Dissolving a packet or two of Emergen-C in your water bottle is a tasty way to fill up on C, as is munching on a couple of these orange-flavored chews. I don't know how precisely zinc is supposed to fight colds, but if you want to give it a try, there are plenty of zinc tablets and lozenges out there for your perusal. And even if there's no conclusive proof of the effectiveness of these remedies, the placebo effect can go a long way.

-The conductor/artistic director of my chorus used to urge all his singers to dose themselves with Sambucol, a nasty-tasting elderberry-derived liquid that supposedly prevents or lessens the effects of cold and 'flu. Since taking it on an empty stomach actually made me throw up, I can't exactly speak for its efficacy, but I do know plenty of musicians who swear by it.

-Finally, there's Airborne, a product supposedly developed by a teacher who was sick of getting sick. The effervescent tablets taste hideous, but the chewable ones are quite bearable, and -- who knows -- may actually have an effect.

-Oh yeah, and there's also garlic. If nothing else, at least it'll keep everyone -- sick and healthy alike -- at a safe distance. (It may also protect you from vampires.)

Too bad I didn't listen to my own advice this year. Excuse me now, as I down a capful of Nyquil and head back to bed for the remainder of the afternoon...

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