Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Mick’s up With Germs

Have you noticed lots of people out sick at work and school, during this past couple of months?  I have.  In fact, at our office, we've all noticed.  I overheard one of my coworkers ask, “Why is everyone sick right now?”  So, I decided this would be a good topic for a Mick’s up Life.

Let’s think about it for a minute. 

With all the many different celebrations going on over a 2 month period, candy and desserts are everywhere!  Not many of us can say we didn't sneak a candy or two from the Halloween bowl.  At Thanksgiving time, so many wonderful homemade desserts surround us (not to mention the carbs ingested before we even reach dessert), and then during Christmastime, we are bombarded from both sides, with candy in the stockings and punch and pastries on the table.

My neighbor friend and I were just talking about this.  Sugar is the main ingredient of those beloved confections, and as we know, sugar is an inflammatory, dragging down our immune systems.

Next, let’s step outside to take a look at the temperature.  With the chill in the air, some of us get scared inside to snuggle up (with a sugar-laden hot chocolate and/or latte, perhaps?), cozily soaking in the glow of the lights of the season… when we’re not scrambling for time to run the kidderz to their new school-year events, shopping for all those aforementioned celebrations, and running to parties, plays, and just plain busy-ness of the holiday season.  With all that happening, how many of us are keeping up with our exercise routines?  Plus, we are trying to cram so many activities into a day, we might not even be getting the amount of sleep (or at least not good sleep!) that we need.  Again, our immune systems are jeopardized.

Oh, can you step outside with me one more time?  When you feel that chill, what do you notice yourself doing?  Do your shoulders tense up?  Are you rubbing your arms to keep warm?  I am!  (In fact, I was doing that at my desk at work for a while, until the temperature got regulated.)  You know what else?  The season, along with my job, keep me at the computer longer.  Do I have perfect posture at the computer?  No!  Do you?  Maybe for a short period of time, but if you’re there, or in any position, for an extended length of time, you just might find your upper back and neck getting tight, stiff, and uncomfortable.

When we are tense in our upper backs and necks, do you know what might be going on inside?  There is more opportunity for our vertebrae to shift out of place.  Do you know where the nerves serving your sinuses and face and throat are directed from?  That’s right!  Those vertebrae that are being affected by the tight muscles have a very close relationship to those nerves.  Hmmmm… yes, you probably guessed it.  If there is pressure on the nerves in that region, you could be finding yourself having sinus issues, headaches, throat problems, etc.  For that reason alone, a visit to your chiropractor would be a wonderful gift to yourself, not to mention a boost to your immune system.

Yes, those things did happened to me this season, too.  I fought off a nasty cold and fever, but it was a quick, easy fight.  I got myself back on track (and drank lots of extra water!), keeping the immune system enemies at bay, especially sugar.  It’s really amazing how much quicker the healing process is, when sugar is taken out of the equation.

So, let’s try to be sure this is a jolly season
  • Let's reduce stress during these months, no matter how crazy things get, and that includes minimizing physical stress (you know, the posture thing we were just looking at)… and remember to sleep… sleep well.
  • Say “Merry Christmas” to you our chiropractors more often at this time of year.  (In other words, schedule more visits.  This can help with the sleeping, too!) 
  • Make better choices of what snacks we enjoy, foods we prepare, and drinks we consume, in order to eliminate (or at least minimize) sugar (look for alternatives, and be sure to read all ingredients!).
  • Enjoy our coffees (again, look for alternatives for flavorings)  healthier hot chocolate (make your own mix), but in moderation, because as we know, nasty things thrive in an acidic environment, which these yummy concoctions do, unfortunately, promote. 
  • Finally, let’s remember to take time to do some quick interval exercising (only 15 or fewer minutes of your day!), and be sure to fit in stretches.  (The stretches can help with that upper back/neck tension thing we previously touched on.)

As it is said, “Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!”

"When it snows, 
she has no fear for her household."



  1. Good advice.

    There are many people I work with have been sick lately. I wish, however, they would stay home. But in a driven, high pressure environment people have a tendency to work through their illnesses. The trouble is, this attitude only ends up spreading (literally) the misery around.

  2. Yes, Stephen, you are correct, and there is some nasty stuff going around. Unfortunately, some people have no choice but to go in to work, so they can get paid (either they have no sick days to begin with, or they've used up their sick days). Another way to look at it is: If people do call in sick, do their coworkers believe them, or are they skeptical of their honesty? It's kind of a no-win situation sometimes.

    So, since we don't have control over what other people do, let's do what we can do, and think about it this way: We are exposed to all kinds of germs everywhere we go every day. So, it's our responsibility to keep our system working at its best, and then we can fight these germs better (and thus spread them less :O) .

    Thanks for reading... and a BIG thanks for the comments! Have fun clicking on the links throughout the article, and rediscover some of the best of a Mick's up Life. :O)

  3. You make a good point Mick. It's a shame that some people can't afford to stay home sick. And also that if they did it would be viewed as "suspect". Luckily I have a boss who is very insistent that her employees stay home when ill (which isn't often for me, luckily). She says she does this for not only her employees sake, but for other who work here, and her own. I applaud this attitude.

    Nevertheless, I agree that we should be doing far more to prevent becoming ill in the first place. As they say "An once of prevention....."

    Keep up the good posts!

    1. That's a good boss! :O) It's also nice when an employee is given the freedom to work at home when contagious but not too sick to work on their projects.

      Thanks for the supportive comments! I look forward to more.