Saturday, November 13, 2010
Brrrrr…It’s Cold Outside
Okay. It isn't that cold yet but I have not been able to get warm for the past few days. Don't even want to think about the really cold weather that is coming. I recently read one woman's experiences of going through an ice storm a few years ago. How she wasn't prepared and what she will do different next time. It has made me think about how difficult it would be to not have heat in my house. As cold as I have felt this week, I would feel a lot colder without electricity.
Here are some more things to think about when preparing to keep warm. This is one woman’s experiences in turning off the electric heat last winter and using wood to keep warm. Here is what she says: “I have learned so much! First it can be done. I not only have lowered my electric bill but I am getting exercise collecting, cutting, splitting and hauling in wood. It is true that there are other things that can be done to keep warm besides changing the source of your heat. This was a voluntary turning off of the heat. In an emergency there would be no alternative. Just some things to think about as you prepare. Here is what I did:”
1. Wear layers of clothing. Your body creates heat and wearing layers contains this free source of heat. Both cotton and wool hold moisture which can lead to hypothermia. Choose to have many polar fleece articles of clothing; hats, gloves, mittens, scarves, vests, jackets, pullovers, socks and a bathrobe, etc. made from polar fleece. If you are really cold, wear a warm hat as much heat escapes from your head and the brain gets the cold message immediately. Get used to wearing a fleece jacket in the house during the day if you are cold. Find one that is not bulky but keeps you warm.
2. When coming inside from being outside during the day, change all your clothes. There is a layer of moisture trapped between your clothes and your body. You don’t even know it is there but it will keep you from getting completely warm. Put on new dry clothes and socks and your body will warm up quicker and stay warmer.
3. Throws and lap blankets. Keep one on each of your easy chairs for when you are sitting or relaxing. Polar fleece wins the contest for being the warmest.
4. Cover furniture with polar fleece if you are having a cold spell or just want to save money on your heating bill. Cover your sofa with polar fleece because it is warmer to sit on than other fabrics. Make sure you only buy good quality polar fleece to keep you warm.
5. Socks and Slippers. There is a huge difference in the warmth of your body when you wear socks in the winter months. Coupled with a great pair of warm slippers you will not feel drafts that creep around the floor. Since hot air rises, feet are subject to this cold air.
6. Down Comforters are great. These "blankets" are very warm and hold in your body heat.
7. Use Door Draft Stoppers. Door draft stopper or guards are filled tubes that keep cold air from creeping under doors. They can be purchased new or made easily by filling a tube sock or tube of fabric with rice, beans, sand or stuffing. They look a bit like a snake and really do the trick.
8. Close Doors. Keep the doors closed to rooms that do not need to be heated. Just heat the areas that you sit in during the day.
9. Do leave the Bathroom Door Open. Showers and baths create lots of heat but more importantly humidity. In the winter the house dries out and the moisture from the bathroom can help tremendously. Now I understand in some family's privacy is important. Just leave the door open after showering and don't use the fan.
10. Leave the oven door open after cooking and turning off the oven. Let that heat escape to warm the kitchen.
11. Open the dishwasher when washing cycle is finished. Once the dishes are washed open the door and let the dishes air dry. This will let the heat escape, allow the moisture to escape to humidify the house and save a bundle on electricity over a period of time.
12. If you are cold, a cup of hot chocolate or hot soup will raise your body temperature and keep you warmer. Keep a tea kettle or pot of water on the stove, not only for humidity in the house but also to use with your supply of instant soup or hot chocolate mixes.
13. Invest in some good quality thermal underwear for each member of your family. Also the cheap little gloves (one size fits all) would be a great investment. If your children are cold, a pair of gloves and socks would make sleeping in cooler conditions much easier and healthier. Stocking caps are also a great item to have on hand for each person if you live in a cold climate.
If you do get sick, here are some helpful home remedy ideas. These are just a few suggestions. For specific concerns or ideas, check the internet. Home remedies:
Onion & Honey Cough Syrup & Sore Throat Remedy
Trim and peel a medium-sized white onion. Slice the onion, and place the slices together in a small bowl. Cover the onion slices with honey, (about ¼ c.) and then cover the bowl with saran wrap. Leave on the counter, unattended for at least 4-5 hours, preferably overnight. Strain off the accumulated ‘syrup’ that has formed, (I like this part best!), and throw out the onion slices. Use the accumulated ‘syrup’ as you would any store-bought over-the-counter cough syrup: Take 1 tablespoon of the gathered syrup up to once every four hours, or as required, to ease a sore throat and calm a pesky cough. Not only will you be able to sleep peacefully throughout the night without coughing, during the day you can go about your daily routine without having to stay away from driving due to other store-bought medications you may have. Surprisingly this does not taste like onions. It has a rather pleasant taste that will surprise you and is so much better than the nasty cough medicine you are used to.
Using essential oils for Sore Throat and for Chest Congestion:Here is a recipe for a sore throat remedy using essential oils. It is a take-off of the popular oil marketed as “Thieves”. Thieves oil is a mixture of several ingredients that have antimicrobial properties. "The recipe goes back to the Middle Ages, where it was used by these thieves who would go around stealing jewelry from dead bodies to keep them from getting the plague or other diseases. This is also an effective remedy for mosquito bites and bee stings.
In a 2 oz. bottle combine the following:
1 T. each:
Finish filling the bottle with Olive oil. For use as a sore throat remedy, use an eye dropper and drop 3-4 drops in the back of your throat.
Oregano Oil for Chest Congestion:
Put several drops of Oregano Essential Oil onto your chest and rub it in. If there is congestion in your lungs, you will begin to see the outline of your lungs on the skin as it begins to turn red wherever there is congestion. If it starts to burn, use a few drops of any oil (almond, olive or even vegetable oil) to dilute it a bit. This really works for bad congestion! *Note: the burning is because there is congestion. It is not a serious problem but if you do feel burning be sure to dilute with another oil so that it doesn’t burn your skin.
For a baby:
1 part dry mustard
4 parts flour
½ t. soda
For an older child or adult:
1 part dry mustard
3 parts flour
½ t. soda
Mix with water to make a real thick paste. Spread between 2 thicknesses of old sheet on chest and throat. Watch closely so it doesn’t burn skin. Leave on about 20 minutes. Remove and rub chest with warm croup ointment or Vicks and cover with hot flannel. Loosens cough and helps break up chest congestion.
Homemade Croup Ointment
¼ c. white Vaseline, slightly melted
3 t. spirits of turpentine
3 t. spirits of eucalyptus
1 t. menthol crystals
3 t. spirits of camphor of 1/6 bar of camphor gum (it is cheaper, but takes a little more time to dissolve)
2 t. peppermint extract (to make it penetrate into the skin)
Mix all together and keep in a tight jar. If it seems too strong, you can add a little more Vaseline.) The peppermint extract can be obtained from the grocery store and other ingredients from a drugstore or online. You will have to ask the druggist to get some of these items.
If you’d rather forego the hassle of making this yourself you can order pre-made croup ointment from Allen Drug in Malad, Idaho. Here is their information:
Daniel’s Croup & Cold Ointment
For the relief of croup, colds, minor aches, and pains
4 North Main Street
Malad City, Idaho 83252