“Drink lots of water and go to the bathroom” ~Dad

This was his answer to fixing a cold, fever, flu, or on the occasion it felt like you were coughing up a lung. Of course, being a teenager, this was a horrible idea; duh, he was a dad, not a doctor.  But as I have gotten older, I have to admit it works quite well. The answer in most cases is fluids, flush and sleep to get over what ails you.

But to be on the safe side, I got my, bird, pig and regular flu, flu shot last week as a preventative action against working with people who don't call in sick, cough without covering their mouth and don't wash their hands before leaving the bathroom.

flickr/cc - The U.S. Army
The only other way to keep myself from getting sick is to rent a hazmat suit to go to work in. And I really don't have the 300.00 for even the cheaper one, so I will have to find existing ways to keep myself healthy. Although it could double as a Halloween costume.

For now, here are the ways I keep myself from being sick and limiting the length of time I may be sick.

Wash hands
Here's the drill: Scrub vigorously with water and soap until lather appears, making sure to get between your fingers and fingernails. Use a nail brush if you have one. Briskly dry with a towel. It's not about the water, it's all about a good 20-seconds of vigorous scrubbing

"Eighty percent of infections are transported by touch, so hand washing is the No. 1 thing you can to do prevent infection"

Eat as healthy as you can 
– Cut out the junk food, especially while you are sick; you need good food to help your white blood count in fighting off the virus.

Take your vitamins 
– This can also help with stress and lack of sleep you may have had and fills in the gaps of nutrition that you may not be getting. It is found that store brand multi-vitamins are on equal footing as name brand multivitamins.

Get some sleep 
– Go to your car and sleep on part of your lunch hour if you can. 10-15 minutes does wonders for your mind and body. Check out the "The Sleep Project"

A Homemade Electrolyte Solution
– To replenish your body's electrolytes, science has backed up the idea of having chocolate milk after a work out or when sick with the flu. "The findings suggest that chocolate milk has an optimal ratio of carbohydrates to protein to help refuel tired muscles, researcher Joel M. Stager, PhD, Indiana University kinesiology professor, tells WebMD."

Open up your house
– If you keep your house closed up a lot, you may want to open some doors/windows to air things out. You've heard of sick buildings? Your home can harbor sickness on a smaller scale as well.

Change out your toothbrush regularly 
– Bacteria build-up decreases your immune system. If buying a new one every 3-4 months is expensive, consider boiling the toothbrush in water and some vinegar. But don’t melt it

What are some other frugal ways you stay healthy? What are some ways you beat a cold/fever without spending a bucket of money?

9 Comments

  1. Anonymous // Wednesday, October 06, 2010 9:11:00 AM  

    I try to stay away from crowds and stores during flu season. Use a disinfecting wipe on the store cart handle when i do go shopping. I try to go during slow times. Avoid the bathrooms away from home.
    Try not to touch door handles with bare hands. Avoid restaurants and eat at home as much as possible. Take along snacks from home when out.

  2. I am the working poor. // Wednesday, October 06, 2010 9:35:00 AM  

    I tried to be nice and call out but they said there was no-one to replace me when I called eight hours before my shift. I do ususally try to stay away from others when I have a cold or flu it just doesn't always work out.

  3. Annie // Wednesday, October 06, 2010 1:11:00 PM  

    Finally! An excuse to drink Chocolate Milk (Like I needed an excuse)!

    This is a great article! I didn't realize the benefits of water until I heard about the water cure. Since then I tout it for everything like your dad does! Preached at my sister until she started drinking more and she says that her arthritis isn't as bad when she drinks more water! I'm sharing this post.

  4. Anonymous // Wednesday, October 06, 2010 7:40:00 PM  

    When I have a cold, or work with people who are sick, I wash my hands about 4 times a day (with soap) and try not to touch my face.
    And if I think I'm getting a cold or the flu, I drink buckets of water/tea, eat ginger and cayenne-y things, and go to bed with lots of blankets. I can usually nip it in the bud.

  5. Gillion // Thursday, October 07, 2010 8:37:00 AM  

    Pei Pa Koa (www.geocities.jp/ninjiom_hong_kong/index_e.htm ) is one of the few Chinese natural cough remedies that have been scientifically studied. it's something like herb plus honey, and it's sweet, thick and black in color. If you have a cough, look for it! It used to be one of my favourite natural cough remedies.

    if your cough persists, seek professional help such as traditional Chinese medicine physicians - I have had very good experiences with them.

  6. Andy // Friday, October 08, 2010 12:58:00 PM  

    Very frugual tips! I like "Get some sleep"....I definetly need to do that as I cannot remember the last time I had 8 hrs of sleep!

  7. Jerry // Friday, October 08, 2010 3:01:00 PM  

    I say cut the sugar especially if you want to make the insurance company happy and stay clear of the doctor visits. This is especially true when you're sick. If you don't it could lead to a lengthening of symptoms.

  8. Rena // Saturday, October 09, 2010 9:33:00 AM  

    A note about opening up the house. What kills many bacteria (and especially fungus) is plain old ordinary sunlight.

    So airing out your house and leaving those blinds UP once in a while to let the sunlight in can be very important to keeping your house from becoming a breeding place for sickness.

    These are all good tips though. I know from experience that the fastest way for me to get sick is: Too much stress, too little sleep, +too much junk food. It's a recipe to weaken your body and allow illness to take over.

  9. Adam // Saturday, October 23, 2010 10:27:00 PM  

    When I was seventeen I was hospitalized and put under quarantine because of the flu, it was the worst experience of my life and I learned some very important things.
    The obvious first is wash your hands every time you pass a sink and always before you eat, even if its just a snack. This is very important as many people who wash before meals forget when they eat a gummy bear or an apple because it doesn't register as a meal in your mind.
    The second thing is to make (at least! Contrary to popular belief you do NOT need all the meat we consume in your diet, I am by no means a vegetarian, I love meat, but it does not provide your body with everything it needs) one meal a day purely fruits and vegetables. I usually do lunch because I do not like carrying around the extra weight of a cold block to keep a ham sandwich cold. Throw a little bag of baby carrots an apple and two Clementines in a bag and you have a healthy easy lunch that takes next to zero prep time in the morning.
    The third thing is I started taking my multivitamins twice a day, there are plenty of rumors that you can overdose on vitamins, to do that would take an obnoxiously excessive amount. Any vitamins that your body doesn't need just gets passed through your urine. I take them in the morning and the afternoon and I have never had a problem at all and I have been doing this for four years now. Vitamins are extraordinarily important for your body and the recommended daily dose is usually the minimum required for you body to fight of major deficiencies, and doesn't take into account the amount that your body needs to fight off extra intruders.
    I cannot stress the importance of vitamins enough.
    Fourth, exercise, exercise, exercise! Even going for a walk in the evening and getting your blood flowing can do incredible things for your body! At the very very minimum go for a fifteen minute walk at least 4 times a week it not only is a great way to stay in shape but it is the best relaxer I have ever found, get out there and move!
    The last thing, drink plenty of water, I usually have about a glass an hour when I'm not doing anything physically taxing for the entire day, but if I work out or ride my bike(I bike to work so that I do not need a car) I drink double that all day.
    None of this should even change your daily routine too much at all, fruit and vitamins are cheap and water can be had free at any restaurant or public building. Washing your hands takes two minutes and if you do not have fifteen minutes to go for a walk you need to re-examine your priorities. I have been doing this since the day I was released from the hospital and I have not even had a runny nose!
    Simple, cheap, effective.