Sunday, October 25, 2009

Keep it hot! (to fight cold and flu)

Now that swine flu's been declared a national emergency, and it's still a few weeks until it's available for everyone that wants to be vaccinated, the challenge is to stay healthy until you get the vaccination. (Although healthy habits even after vaccination help it work most effectively, so it's not the time to be cramming Doritos.)

electric hot kettleOne way to keep cold and flu at bay (or relieve symptoms if you come down with a bug) is to down hot drinks. One way I've found to keep hot drinks handy at home, at any hour, is to use an electric kettle (specifically, the ChefsChoice 677 cordless kettle pictured above). Keeping one in my bedroom (along with a teacup, saucer, and tins of tea) keeps me from having to amble up and down stairs first thing in the morning, or at night, when I want to warm up with a hot cuppa. I've had this kettle a couple of years, and couldn't be more pleased.

The kettle shuts itself off after boiling for a few minutes (with a nice, solid "click"), and has a red light on while it boils, so you know when it's on, a nice safety feature. I also like the handle's shape, and the stainless steel body keeps the water very warm for a nice long time after boiling. Ahhhhhh! That it's a nice heavy construction means that you won't easily knock it over; that the base separates from the rest of the kettle makes pouring easy.

Keeping the kettle in the bedroom also allows it to double as a humidifier, when you open the lid after the water boils and the steam fills the room. (Ahhh again!) It's also safer than a standard humidifier, as it's easy to clean and dry out (the lid opens up quite wide), making it unlikely to develop yucky mold.

Last, but certainly not least, electric kettles are considered very energy efficient, in part because they quickly warm up water.

As part of a cold-busting electric duo, consider getting the cheap luxury of a mug warmer for the office. No, it doesn't heat up your drink (that's what the kettle is for!), but keeps it from getting cold. Because you never know--you might have to leave your desk for an emergency meeting, get back half hour later, and your drink is cold. Bummer.

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While I enjoy the colder months (to a point), sometimes the cold weather gets you down, as Kool and the Gang put it aptly in the 1975 classic, Winter Sadness.

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