When your kids head back to school in the fall, your entire family might brace for the onslaught of incoming sickness. As children with less developed immune systems talk and play with their friends, germs can spread fast, which is why you might be laser-focused on keeping your kids healthy. Here are three weird ways to combat illnesses this cold and flu season.
1. Use a Humidifier
When you have a cough, a humidifier can be an indispensable tool. In addition to raising the relative humidity and making the space feel warmer, humidifiers also loosen mucus, making it easier to breathe when you are sick. However, new research has shown that humidifier use might keep you from becoming ill in the first place.
While it is true that certain microorganisms thrive in wetter environments, moisture can also keep airborne germs from spreading. In addition to making it more difficult for droplets containing the virus to travel throughout a room, high levels of humidity have also been found to kill the flu virus.
In fact, according to one study that tracked viral activity on a microscopic level, only 20% of viruses were viable after being exposed to high humidity after an hour. To put that number into perspective, 80% of the same viral load was still alive and functional after an hour of being in an arid environment.
To add another layer of illness protection inside of your home, use a filtered, cool-mist humidifier. As a general rule of thumb, indoor relative humidity should be under 50% to protect air quality. If you aren't sure what your current humidity levels are, invest in an inexpensive digital hygrometer.
2. Jump on Your Trampoline
If you have a trampoline in your yard for your kids to play on, think about joining in the fun to boost your immunity. While it might seem like a stretch, the tie between rebounding, or the movement of coming up from a trampoline jump, and the lymphatic system has been extensively studied.
Your body's lymphatic system is a crucial component of your immune response since it is responsible for carrying away toxins, dead cells, and waste. Your lymphatic system also delivers nutrient-rich fluids containing white blood cells to injured parts of your body, allowing them to heal. Unfortunately, your lymphatic system has one vulnerability - the vessels only run one way.
Because your lymphatic system isn't capable of pumping fluid into and out of areas, it completely relies on physical movement to transport nutrients and remove waste byproducts. Fortunately, jumping on your trampoline can boost your lymph production significantly while also making those important vessels stronger.
As an added bonus, rebounding is also an excellent cardiovascular exercise, reducing your blood pressure and increasing muscle tone. In fact, 20 minutes of jumping on a trampoline has the same cardiovascular effect of running for an hour - while the g-forces experienced during the activity bathe the cells in your body with protective fluids.
People always say laughter is the best medicine, but what they don't know is that scientists have actually shown that letting go, relaxing, and laughing can lower cortisol levels and reduce your body's level of inflammation - protecting you against illnesses.
Laughter changes your body on a chemical level by increasing the number of antibodies present in your blood. When you laugh, your blood pressure decreases and your heart rate increases, changing the way you feel and making your body healthier.
To improve your emotional and physical health, do things that make you laugh. Watch a funny movie, catch that comedy show, or spend some time with your best friends. You never know, you might just enjoy better health because of the downtime.
In addition to making a few changes around your household, exercising, eating a healthy diet, and meeting with your doctor for regular checkups can help you to keep your body strong and healthy.
At NEON, our team of doctors and nurses are committed to providing high-quality, low-cost care to families who need everything from pediatric care and dental checkups to prenatal care and nutritional counseling. Visit our website today to find out more about our programs.