We try to keep ourselves healthy throughout the year. However, I confess, that I go the extra mile during the winter. As a stay-at-home mom, I am just too busy and have too many people relying on me, to get sick. And, I also can’t afford my children becoming ill, missing days from school and having their homework pile up. I need to keep the household as healthy and germ-free as possible. Illness tends to spread faster in the winter months because viruses thrive in cold, dry climates1. We all know too well that the common cold and flu share many of the same symptoms. They are both contagious respiratory illnesses caused by viruses2. They exhibit similar symptoms such as body aches and chills, runny nose, sneezing, congestion, to name a few. However, there are some subtle differences as well. The flu can usually last a lot longer – anywhere from a few days to weeks. The common cold usually only lasts a few days although secondary bacterial infections are common and can keep us sick longer
The most important thing you can do to keep yourself healthy is to strengthen your immune system. Those who have a weaker immune system, including young children, the elderly and pregnant women are more susceptible to getting sick. A nutritious diet, exercise, and a good night’s sleep are critical to maintaining strong immunity.
Germs are everywhere! They spread easily through the air or saliva, can deplete our bodies of nutrients, and produce toxins that cause those annoying symptoms. Simply washing your hands throughout the day really does help keep germs at bay. Always cover your nose and mouth when sneezing. The old elbow trick is a good practice and then, of course, washing your hands after is great too! (Try this hand sanitizing gel recipe to keep around the house or bring with you when you’re out.) If you or your child do get sick, I know it’s a major inconvenience, but please stay home and take good care of yourself and your child. Drink plenty of fluids and rest, rest, rest!
In addition to all that, I do tend to take it to the next level with my essential oils to lower exposure to illness-causing germs. I am a believer that some germ exposure can make us stronger, but still feel protecting ourselves is a good idea, and not everyone who walks into my home will have washed their hands!
While we’re still in the heart of the winter, I like to arm myself with my favorite household essentials to try and ward off illness. The two ways I use most to attack these contagious microorganisms are diffusion of essential oils and use of a germ-killing cleaning blend.
Both recipes below contain essential oils known for their anti-bacterial, anti-viral, anti-microbial and immune-modulating properties. I like to use my diffuser to disperse the antimicrobial, anti-viral molecules to cleanse the air and expand our breathing space.
Immune Boosting Diffuser Synergy
To create a synergy for diffusion, simply blend the following essential oils together. Let the synergy marinate for a few hours before using. Then add about 5 or 6 drops to your diffuser. Diffuse for 20 minutes at a time.
|Essential Oil||# of Drops|
|Eucalyptus (Eucalyptus globulus)||8 drops|
|Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis)||10 drops|
|Black Pepper (Piper nigrum)||6 drops|
|Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare)||6 drops|
|Lemon (Citrus limon)||12 drops|
|Douglas Fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii)||12 drops|
Cleaning Spray Blend
I also like to create my own antibacterial cleaning spray to wipe down high hand-traffic areas such as doorknobs, toilet bowl flushers, refrigerator handles, cabinet knobs, the remote control, phones, keyboards, and light switches.
In addition to the oils below, you will need distilled water and a 2 ounce spray-top glass bottle.
|Essential Oil||# of Drops|
|Lemongrass (Cymbopogon citratus)||12 Drops|
|Peppermint (Mentha x piperita)||12 Drops|
|Grapefruit (Citrus paradisi)||96 Drops|
|May Chang (Litsea cubeba)||36 Drops|
Add entire recipe to a 2 oz. bottle and swirl to mix. Add distilled water to reach the neck of the bottle. Make sure to shake well before each each use. It’s a good idea to test a small amount on whatever surface you are cleaning before applying to a larger area. Be advised that this blend contains essential oils which could cause dermal irritation.
Please use rubber gloves when cleaning as these essential oils, especially lemongrass and peppermint can cause dermal irritation.