Boogie Wipes: To Wipe out Kiddo Cold and Flu Germs

Knowing that I am both a nurse and a mom, the folks over at Boogie Wipes® sent me some samples to use with my little one, which is awesome because I actually already used Boogie Wipes for her, and now I was just able to stock her diaper bag with all of their goodies we could take them on the road, but I also get to share how they can help keep your child healthy also.

Boogie WipesWinter is always a time when we are indoors more because it’s cold (especially for those of us who live on the East Coast) breathing in re-circulated air, which put us at a higher risk for contracting the common cold and flu viruses…and spreading them to others. And just like for adults, there are some pretty easy and key tips for trying to keep our babies as germ free as possible too. We had a cold ravage our house recently, but miraculously, the baby didn’t get more than a few sniffles, and I have to thank breast milk and Boogie Wipes for that! I know that the power of antibodies in breast milk rather speaks for itself, but why Boogie Wipes? Boogie Wipes are not only wipes for stuffy and crusty little noses, that helps to gently soften and dissolve the boogies away with a gentle normal saline infusion and fresh scent, but there is also Boogie Mist, a gentle saline mist that can be spritzed up the nose to help break up and soften mucous crusts in the nose, and also dissolve it. Boogie Mist can help to keep nasal passages moist and yet clear of mucous (boogies) to prevent post nasal drip, which is one of the leading causes dry coughs in the winter. And for my little girl, it gave me piece of mind that her nasal airways were free and clear so she could suck on her pacifier to soothe herself to sleep, feed without breathing issues, and she would be able to breathe freely and sleep all night, so she could fight off any bugs. The fresh scent of the Boogie Wipes (there is also a grape scent) made it more enjoyable for my baby, who actually liked getting the little spritz up her nose, and she loves the wipes as well, and knows them by scent…I get a big smile when the Boogie Wipes come out, as opposed to a head turned to the side!

Even if you don’t have any illnesses spreading through your home, the use of Boogie Wipes and Boogie Mist can help to prevent colds and illnesses and keep your child healthy. Boogies in the nose, are one of the bodies first line of defense in preventing viruses into the body, and by wiping them off and dissolving them away, we are assisting our children in gently removing the risk of a virus right at the source before it has a chance to infect. Also, if a stuffy nose is keeping your small child from breathing properly at night, they will not sleep well, and that is a benefit to no one (and I am sure a crabby baby is the last thing anyone wants, if you can prevent it!) so Boogie Mist can help to open up those nasal passages and allow for improved breathing. Plus, normal saline is so gentle on the skin, that it has no negative side effects, it is one of the most gentle substances you can put in or in your body.

Also, one of the hardest (near impossible) way to prevent colds is keeping your kids hands away from their mouths and keeping them clean (and I am saying that as the mother of a 6 month-old who is teething and shoving everything she sees in her mouth). It is inevitable that kids will be kids and they explore with their hands by touching things, and that stuff always seems to make it to their face to rub something (an eye, nose, mouth). One great way for a quick clean, especially if you don’t want to put an alcohol based cleaner on your childs hands, is to use a Boogie Wipe, as it is infused with normal saline, which won’t damage the skin, and is safe for them to then put into their mouths: it’s a win/win!

Between the safeness, effectiveness, and the great scents that my baby loves, I think that every mom should stock up on Boogie Wipes and Boogie Mist to try to ward off those nasty winter bugs!

Yours in Good Health,


Use Ginger to Improve Your Wellbeing

I am asked at least once a day about how to prevent colds, or what you can take once you feel one coming on to prevent it from becoming a full-fledged cold, leaving you feeling miserable and down for the count for a while. I don’t believe that most of the over-the-counter (OTC) remedies work for cold prevention, and my avid readers know that by now, but there is some research to support the use of ginger to prevent colds, and even help to kick the symptoms you already have!

How does Ginger help?

There are few studies that have specifically looked at ginger and exactly how it works, or really IF it even works at all.  But it has been used for hundreds of years as a staple in Eastern medicine as a treatment for colds, the flu, and any other virus, and it still continues to be because it really works.  In 2002, there was a small study done in a smaller international journal, that found ginger to have antiviral properties.  They were doing their study to specifically look at its use in respiratory tract infections, viral in nature, but many respiratory infections originally start as “head colds” so most likely the antiviral properties work on those viruses as well.  By effectively attacking the viruses and preventing them from causing a further infection, it stops your cold in its tracks, and prevents the infection from spreading or getting worse.

How do I use it?

Usually when you get a cold, your nose, throat, and mouth are all infected by the virus, which is why you get the symptoms you do: sore throat, stuffy nose, and sometimes cough.   So, there are some ways to use the ginger to make sure that you are hitting your “target” areas for its antiviral effects:

Make ginger tea: Take two tablespoons of fresh ginger (roughly an inch off of the root), peel it and squish it, place it in the bottom of a coffee/tea mug, then pour boiling hot water over it. Even better for you? Add some honey to sweeten it, and it also helps with its antibacterial properties! It is suggested that you can drink this 2 to 3 times a day while your symptoms last.

A ginger steam: You can chop fresh ginger and put it in a bowl of boiling hot water, put your head over the steam, with a towel over your head, and inhale the steam. You can do this twice a day. Your nose will run like crazy, but it will help to kick that cold!

Eat it: You can eat ginger in candy form and various eastern meals also include ginger. It is good to eat to stave off a cold or viral infection!

I drink ginger tea frequently and love it, but I know it isn’t for everyone. There is no right or wrong amount to eat, but truly everything in moderation, and if you greatly dislike ginger or are allergic, do not eat it! There are ginger supplements that you can try, and if you truly have an aversion to ginger, maybe you just don’t need it. And, as always, if you have any other medical conditions and take other medications, talk to your HCP before starting a new regimen. Give it a try and let me know what you think. AND don’t forget to drink lots of fluid and rest, as you would any time you are ill. Plus, if your symptoms do not go away, or get worse, definitely consult your HCP for further treatment.

Yours in Good Health


Salt water gargles: A quick fix for a sore throat?

For some reason there have been a lot of summer colds lately, people complaining of sore and/or scratchy throats as the main culprits, and really being miserable.  There are some at home remedies to soothe those sore throats, and the best ones are cheap and readily available to all!

What is the best way to soothe a sore throat? 

Well, anytime that you have a virus, you want to make sure that you are drinking plenty of fluids.  I know that when you have  a sore throat, it is really the last thing that you want to do, but you need to push fluids so that your body is able to fight off the virus!  Making a mixture of 1/2 teaspoon of salt in a glass of warm water, then gargling that for about 10-15 seconds (two to three times) three times daily will truly soothe your sore throat and make that scratchy dryness go away.  The water is warm and soothing, and the salt helps to draw moisture out from any viruses (and or bacteria present) thus helping to heal you!  A large study of about 400 participants in the American Journal of Preventative Medicine found that people who gargle salt water, as a preventative measure during cold and flu season had a 40% decreased rate of getting upper respiratory infections (as opposed to those who didn’t).  Another study from the University of Michigan found that the salt water gargles not only relieved sore throat symptoms but also helped to prevent transmission of the flu.

Both studies also found that due the antimicrobial effects from honey, drinking warm water with honey and lemon can also get rid of sore throat side effects, or just swallowing a teaspoon of pure honey a couple of times a day.  Cough drops with menthol usually have very little positive effects but, just like any other hard candy of choice, help to keep saliva moving around your mouth and prevent dryness which makes the sore throat seem worse.

Bottom line?

Salt water gargles can help to soothe a sore throat AND prevent viruses!  Albeit, the taste is pretty gross, and I totally understand (I am not a huge salt person), it does work and it will help you during cold/flu season this winter, and it will help ease those symptoms of a summer sore throat!  So make sure to drink fluids (like water), use your salt water gargles, and you can always feel free to alternate with honey/lemon water, or sucking on a teaspoon of honey to soothe that throat: all cheap, readily available, and easy to do! So now you know how to heal yourself with your next sore throat!!

Yours in Good Health


Cold and Flu Prevention

Cold and flu season is now upon all of us; we are all at risk, we all know that we should be getting flu shots, especially if you are considered high risk, and ideally you should get the flu shot before December, when flu season starts to hit its hardest. The flu can be a very devastating illness and can lead to complications of other medical issues and cause death.  Colds?  You just don’t want to feel crappy, so we should really try our best to prevent both, right?  Prevent illness in yourself and others, and you will be a MUCH happier person this winter!

The Flu Virus

Who is considered High Risk?
Per the CDC (Center for Disease Control) it is:
Pregnant woman
Children 5 and under
People with chronic medical conditions
People older than 50 years old
Anyone living in a nursing home or long-term care facilities
People who care for those at high risk (healthcare workers, caregivers for elderly or very young)

What else can I do to prevent colds and flu?
Get adequate sleep: I have certain unnamed friends that claim exhaustion if they get less than 10-12 hours of sleep a night, I am really happy with the average person if they get 7-8 hours of sleep; because that will refresh your body and help to keep your immune system strong.  And, if you are sick, then try to get more like 10 hours of sleep, and relax as much as possible, your body is trying to tell you something, and you need to let it recharge.
Keep your hands off your face:  Try not to bite your fingernails, wipe your nose on your hands, touch your eyes, or anything of that nature; it can spread germs all over your face, and increase your risk of getting a cold or the flu.
Beware of others: Wash your hands (or use and antibacterial gel) after shaking hands, and clean others belongings before you use it yourself (like phones, clothes, etc)  You never know how well other people clean things, and even something as benign seeming as borrowing a pen, can end up in a cold later on!  Plus, if someone is sneezing or coughing (showing any sign of illness), I would keep away from a big bear hug and be a little more wary of spending time in an enclosed space with someone who seems under the weather.
Eat Fresh: Eating a healthy, well-balanced diet of fruits, veggies, proteins can support a strong immune system, and if you aren’t eating all that well, pop a multi-vitamin to keep your immune system working optimally, and try to prevent illness as best you can.
Get your sweat on: Working out regularly keeps your immune system strong, and your body working like a well oiled machine, not to mention that you look good and feel good too.  So, despite shorter days, and cooler weather, make time to exercise and get your body moving.
Quit smoking: Just another reason to ditch the butts, it creates changes in your respiratory tract, and decreases your immune system, leaving your lungs as prime target for viruses and bacteria to attack and cause illness.  Yuck! (Really, as if I needed yet another reason to get on my soap box about quitting smoking!!)

If you do get sick?
Keep it contained to yourself and try to sneeze or cough into your elbow area, as to prevent the spread to others. Use fresh tissues at all times; I mean I always thought it was a little creepy that my Nana would use a tissue, then shove it in the wristband of her sweater for later, but as an HCP, I now know how truly germ-y and gross that is, and you can actually reinfect yourself by using dirty or old tissues!  Drinks lots of water (and coconut water to replenish your electrolytes), and get plenty of rest and sleep. I know easier said than done, but don’t overstress yourself when you are ill….make some “me” time, for sure, and stay away from work!  And, if you start to get really high fevers, and the illness doesn’t start to get better after a couple of days, see your HCP to make sure that it isn’t something more serious.

There is always an excuse NOT to work out and eat healthy, but there is no reason to want to get sick. So be proactive about your health: live a healthy lifestyle, and you will be a healthier person.  You’ll thank me!

Yours in Good Health

Is too much exercise bad for your immune system?

For years and years (healthcare providers) HCP’s have been telling you that “moderate” amounts of exercise are good for you, and your immune system, especially during the winter months to prevent colds, flu, respiratory infections, etc. And, I am not going to tell you any different, BUT I am going to give you an explanation as to why exercise can boost your immune system and how much exercise can actually put a strain on your immune system.  Actually, one study showed that people who didn’t exercise and started 12 weeks of moderate exercise had over a 50% drop in sick days over the next year!!

Who can benefit?
The best part is that everyone can!  Even with chronic diseases or autoimmune diseases, you can find YOUR level of moderate exercise and it will only benefit your body, your general health, and support a healthy immune system.  For example, if you are bed bound, there are arm exercises, rolling in bed, leg lifts…a form of exercise depends on what you are used to.  So, everyone should be getting some form of moderate exercise, there is NO excuse! There is always a way to find some small amount of time to add exercise to your day, even if it is taking stairs instead of the elevator running between meetings at work, parking far away from the place you need to be, or doing a fitness video at home; you can always shave a few minutes out of your day to fit it in!

How does it support your immune system?
So, the immune system is a whole network that has been created by our body to protect it from invasions from viruses and bacteria using various different hormones, chemicals, and cells to attack, as well as to remember the viruses in the future, to prevent further attacks and hone your body’s response.  In an effort to not get too deep into cellular anatomy and physiology, I just want to explain that some of the cells that respond are called cytokines (of which there are many different types).  Some of the cytokines release a signal to your white blood cells (the ones that increase in number to attack when there is an invader present in your system: your number will be elevated if you have a cold, for example, and get your blood drawn at your HCP, but it will drop back down to a “normal” level when you aren’t sick) that there is an invader (bacteria/virus), then there is an inflammatory response, and the white blood cells know to go in for the kill.  So, why am I telling you this?  Well, with a moderate amount of exercise, the cytokines are produced and released in moderate amounts, so your immune system is being challenged a little bit every time you exercise, and it strengthens your immune system because it is constantly working.

Why is too much bad?
If you overtrain, or exercise too much, you can cause damage to some of the muscles, or various different cells in your body, and it can stress your body.  When your body feels stressed, overexerted, or over taxed, your immune system is actually decreased because your body is working so hard to recover your muscles from training, that your immune responses can be lowered due to a release of higher cortisol levels.  Cortisol is a natural hormone that is released from the adrenal gland that helps to regulate metabolism, the immune system, inflammatory responses, as well as having other functions; it is basically your “stress” hormone and the one that jazzes you up during your “fight or flight” response.  The problem with is being constantly elevated, is that your body is never truly relaxed (which can occur in our modern way of living where everyone is running around, working tons, worried about everything, and constantly stressed even when we don’t realize it) and this can lead to slower immune system responses and slower healing by the body due to the way that cortisol makes your body react.  So, too much exercise can depress the cytokine release, and make your body slower to react to minor pathogens (viruses/bacteria) that may be trying to invade your body.

What is considered Moderate exercise?
Usually it is defined as 20-30 minutes of exercise 5 days a week.  For me, that is not enough because my baseline is much more than that, so that is a great guideline but it needs to be based on your level of exercise specifically.  So, I would tell you that “moderate” really means what you feel comfortable with in exercise, can get through without feeling tortured and on a scale of 1-10 (one being barely any effort and 10 being extreme effort), it would be a level 4-6; where you are comfortable and can even talk during the exercise (not a lot mind you, but you aren’t struggling for breath).  Moderate exercise can vary with days that are a 6-8 (a little harder) and days that are a 4-5 (a little easier) but try to stay around that range for cardio.  You can push harder twice a week, for better results, but if you are happy with how in shape you are, try to keep it relatively even.  As far as lifting, you definitely want to add some muscle strength on top of your cardio, but again, don’t stress yourself out (i.e. you can barely lift your arms afterwards), but push yourself daily to the point that you know you have worked out and feel stronger.

What is too much?
Pushing yourself to run at a super fast pace and for a long distance when every step you feel like to want to stop and your legs feel like lead…that is too much.  You need to listen to your body (and non-runners, will probably say, “my body says that every time I run”, so I’m talking to those who are runners baseline!) Or if you are working out on the scale of an 8-10 every day, that is too much!!  You can go 8-10 once or twice a week, but really no more than that. If you feel strains in your muscles or muscle tears, you need to take a break and your body will let you know.  I totally understand the feeling of wanting to push your body to the limits EVERY time you work out, I have done that in the past, and I looked fantastic, but it isn’t sustainable over time, because as you overtrain, your body loses interest in wanting to work out and it gets harder and harder to push yourself to do so. Not to mention, that it ends up decreasing your immune system.

For my avid exercising readers, just listen to your body; it will tell you when you are overtraining!  Sometimes every step feels so horrible you just can’t exercise- then STOP,  just lift weights, or take a break and catch up on some missed TV shows and DON’T FEEL GUILTY about it!! Just go back to your normal routine the next day, Nurses orders 🙂 You really need to look at exercise as everything else, do it in moderation, and it will be sustainable over your whole life, not something that you stop and start, which is the key to fitness; sustainability.

For those of you who don’t exercise, I hope this inspires you to park farther away from the store and get a walk, skip the elevator and take the stairs, and grab a friend (bundle up) and go for a wintry walk and a cup of coffee/tea!  Try to get out there and get that heart pumping to stimulate your immune system!!  It actually is good for you, gets you out, and can help you also beat the winter blues.

Yours in Good Health