5 Ways to Beat Winter Bugs

Most winters I actually sail through without colds. But late winter/early spring? I often succumb to some sort of bug at that time. I’m sure that not having kids helps keep those winter germs/bugs at bay. I’m not a hermit, though, so I do come in contact with cold bugs.

Cynthia from You Signed Up for What?, Courtney from Eat Pray Run DC, and Mar from Mar on the Run chose 5 ways to stay healthy during the holidays. Funny, just last week my friend in my Weight Watchers meeting had a cold and I told her not to breathe on me! I certainly didn’t want to get sick before my 15k, even if it wasn’t really a goal race.

So far, knock on wood, doing good.

I do love my tea!
I do love my tea!

Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate
It can be tougher to stay well hydrated as the temperatures dip. My secret weapon is tea. All sorts of teas. I probably get at least half my 8 cups a day of liquids from tea during the winter. It’s just so comforting!

I load up on Tulsi, Traditional Medicinals Ecinachea, and Hisbiscus in addition to my daily green teas.

Spring/summer I’m all about the salads. Fall/winter I’m all about soups. And if I do succumb to a cold, there’s nothing better than matzo ball soup. Even though Manischwietz has got some suspicious ingredients in it, I swear by it.

Of course mom’s chicken soup is even better.

Shake it up
Add some variety into your life. I like bananas and apples in the winter; apples and bananas. I have been forcing myself to eat more grapes and clementines. It’s true that fresh fruit is more limited in winter, but there is more to life than just bananas and apples (no matter how much I like them).

Same goes for veggies. Brussel sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower, onions, mushrooms, baby bok choy, spaghetti squash — what’s your favorite winter veggie?

You know how they say to eat a rainbow? That’s because all the different colored freggies (that’s fruits/vegetables) have different vitamins & minerals in them — the more variety you eat, the more vitamins/minerals/antioxidants you’re getting.

You can still take your multivitamin, but nothing beats mother nature.

Limit sugar
I’m not telling you you need to forgo the holiday cookies and treats, but be mindful about just how much extra sugar you’re consuming. It will make you tired after that initial sugar rush, and it will pack on the pounds.

And beware the sneaky sugars — it’s everywhere — in ketchup, in yogurt, in tomato sauce, those packaged oatmeal packets — the list goes on and on. Cut out some of those extras and enjoy some more of the real goodies.

Some people will claim sugar isn’t addictive, but I know the more I eat sugary treats, the more I want sugary treats. And artificial sweeteners just make you crave more sweets, too, in my humble opinion. I sweeten my tea with stevia, although I drink my green tea straight up (wasn’t always that way).

Limit carbs
I know: we’re runners and we need our carbs. But carbs are basically sugar in disguise. Try to go with whole grains more often than processed grains; go a little lower carb on days where you’re not working out hard; up your fat (gasp!) and protein to help you feel full.

Your mom was right: wash your hands!
Washing your hands just might be the biggest weapon in your bug-slaying arsenal. I’m not a germaphobe; I don’t carry sanitizer around with me; but washing hands will do more to keep those bugs away than you realize.

Bonus: Emergen-c, or my secret weapon
I know that scientific studies say Vitamin C supplements do nothing more than give us vitamin c pee (sorry for that image). I don’t care if it’s placebo, but if I’m under stress or feel something coming on, I try to be proactive with Emergen-c. It kind of blows away the whole avoid sugar thing, but in this instance, the tradeoff is worth it to me.

I start taking it the week before a racecation. I take it when I feel particularly run down or stressed out. And I love the taste; I won’t lie!

 Do you have a go-to if you feel a bug coming on?

26 thoughts on “5 Ways to Beat Winter Bugs

  1. I love Traditional Medicinal’s Throat Coat, which is licorice based. Not overpowering, very soothing. My entire being feels comfort when I sip.

    I’ve been so incredibly afraid of catching an early season cold before my half, so I know what you’re talking about with your 15K. So far I’m okay….two days to go.

    I take Vitamin C every morning. Yes, I’ve heard it’s a placebo, but it can’t hurt and I’ve had fewer colds these past couple of years, so I’m sticking with it.

    I should drink more water. Why don’t I? It always freezing cold in my office, I always have on four layers, including an outdoor jacket, sweaters in the summer, and even room temperature water makes me even colder. I have Raynauld’s syndrome and being cold is really bad, purple fingers, chilled on the inside. It’s miserable. Happily, yesterday and today are not cold in here, so my fervent wish is that this is the new normal. I think I’ll take my water bottle out of the cupboard…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I use throat coat when I have a tickle. And if I have an actual cold, I use Cold Care PM, Breathe Easy, and the Echinachea Plus.

      I’m definitely with you on the vitamin C thing.

      I still drink a lot of water, bur I enjoy water. But there’s a lot more tea as it gets colder. Obviously, you can see I have a thing for tea (and that’s just the tip of the iceberg).


  2. I agree with you, when I start to feel something even the slightest tingle in my throat I run straight for emergen-c. I like airborne for when I travel, it has more zinc. 🙂 I also like to drink tea too, organic free tea, though I’m still trying to work on cutting out the added sugar for some sweetener.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I used to use a LOT of stevia in my green tea. When I went to Montreal to run the inaugural RnR Montreal half, I forgot it. I wasn’t feeling well, though, so I drank my tea. Without anything in it. And I haven’t looked back.

      I do like flavored teas, too, and I still use a little stevia to sweeten them, but a very little — it’s really funny how when you cut back, you find you really didn’t need it that sweet in the first place.


  3. I have Emergen-C stashed away along with Airborne. I got a cold last year but I think I rebounded because I kept taking Airborne. My colds are normally pretty bad, but I feel like I recovered much faster.


  4. I should do all those things you say but I don’t do any. Sigh. I think all the years of teaching and now I still work in a school, I am immune to germs. And I get a flu shot. I never get a cold. Knock on wood.


  5. I don’t get sick much, except for a sore throat on occasion. I think being active is the number one defense. I like to suck on Hall’s Vitamin C drops in the winter. They taste good and I figure they can’t hurt. I’ve done Emergen-C before too. I wash my hands…a lot!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Actually, in my case I think being active can sometimes lead to sickness — overdoing it, not resting enough, that sort of thing.

      I actually don’t get sick a lot. I had a couple of years where I didn’t get anything and then I was sick 3 times the next year, which is very unusual for me.


  6. I would also suggest taking a disinfectant wipe to remote controls, computers, telephones, door handles and light switches !


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