It is winter; January in the Northern Hemisphere can be unpredictable. Sure, meteorologists seem to have an edge over us, predicting the weather. They have high-tech equipment, knowledge of weather patterns and charts and graphs. However, you do not need to be a weather person to know if it is January, in the Northern Hemisphere, it is bound to be cold. Everything seems to come to a standstill; the plants are dormant, the birds fly south (well, most of them), beaches are deserted, pipes freeze, and people go outside as little as possible. It is strange how the temperature can be 50 degrees on Saturday and 18 degrees on Monday morning.

The Arctic jet stream brings us a dry blast of cold air. The lack of humidity in the air, dries out the mucus membranes in your sinuses, causes your lips and skin to dry out, and without moisture, your skin will split and bleed. This lack of moisture also causes your mucus membranes to become irritated. Once irritated, they become inflamed, increasing the nasal cavities sensitivity to irritants in the air, such as dust particles, dander from the dog or cat, and of course…germs. Germs, bacteria, and viruses are on a search for a warm, moist safe place to abide. An irritated nasal passageway to them is like a tropical vacation to us.

All life has a built-in survival strategy, to live at all costs, even if that survival causes the demise or extinction of its host. In this case the common cold makes you ill and influenza can at its worst, be deadly. So, what is the cure for the common cold or the flu? If I knew that I would not be writing about the subject, I would instead be marketing the cure. However, even though we do not have a cure, there is a wise old adage from Benjamin Franklin. He said, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”

courtesy Wikipedia
Benjamin Franklin courtesy Wikipedia

Sometimes the simplest things have the greatest effect. For example, take $10.00 from your paycheck, allowance or income, and in a year, you will have built up $520.00 plus interest! A little thing such as a seed can produce something as grandiose as the tallest trees in the world that are redwoods (Sequoia sempervirens). A small stone thrown in a pond will cause a circle of concentric waves rippling across the surface. Humidity, could be one of those small things that maybe we are overlooking.

Adding humidity to the air makes your home feel warmer even if you keep your thermostat at the same temperature. Humidity makes the air heavier, so dust, dander and particulates that absorb moisture are heavier and gravity pulls them closer to the floor. Adding humidity to the air will aid in keeping your skin healthy, soft and supple, and your nasal passageways will be less aggravated.

Maybe, I am on to something! Boiling a large pot of water and letting it simmer on low heat for a few hours keeps your home warmer (at least it feels warmer), and helps prevent your body from drying out, literally inside and out. Your sinuses will not become as dry, thereby keeping them healthy. Healthy air passageways help ward off diseases. Diseases find it difficult to survive in hostile habitats, such as a healthy body.

In my professional opinion, you may be able to have a humidifier installed on your heating system or you can buy a humidifier to vaporize water into the air, however, I will give a word of caution. You must maintain the humidifier because it is a breeding ground for diseases such as Legionaries’ Disease, a type of pneumonia, mold can build up and coat the ductwork, and a furnace humidifier can prematurely rust out the heat exchanger of the furnace. A vaporizer style humidifier is a better choice, but here again; it must be cleaned on a regular interval and must be refilled frequently. Here is a link to very well written article Before You Buy A Room Humidifier – Humidifier Buying Tips ,Tips on how to shop for a portable humidifier By Mariette Mifflin Housewares/Appliances Expert

The major drawback of putting a pot of water on the stove is the water will eventually run out, and can be unsafe for children or for the forgetful person. You can avoid the pitfall of having the pot run dry by setting a timer to remind you to check the water level. Another neat trick is to add cloves or cinnamon to the water, because it gives a nice smell to your home.

I hope this cold preparedness tip helps you to stay well. For emergency disaster preparedness products, or for a link to the Center for Disease Control, contact Just Us Enterprises – Emergency Disaster Preparedness.