|Northern Light Technologies' Luxor lamp, $195. (Supplied)
It's icky out there! Wet weather, dark days and insidious illnesses can really suck all the fun out of a winter wonderland. Next time you head out to the store to stock up on hand sanitizer and zinc lozenges (or, for the Johnny-come-latelys, NeoCitran, tissues and Nyquil) consider adding one of these wellness-boosting gadgets to your arsenal. They could be just what the doctor ordered.
Cold medicine giant Vicks has moved into appliances with a line of humidifiers aimed at easing congestion. Their Germ Free Cool Mist humidifier features an anti-bacterial twist — it uses a patented germicidal chamber to kill virtually all of the germs and bacteria in the water you add to the machine. It's also self-regulating, automatically controlling moisture levels in the air. A nifty Vicks-specific feature is the built-in scent pad heater; pop in a menthol or "sleepytime" lavender-and-rosemary scent pad for a scent-sible solution to dry air. It's available on amazon.ca for $63.97.
An abrupt wake-up call can really put a damper on an otherwise restful night of sleep, but some swear by alarm clocks that use light to gradually rouse you from slumber. Philips' Wake-Up Light alarm clock attempts to simulate sunrise with a light that gradually brightens the room over 30 minutes, along with a natural sound or radio alarm that slowly grows louder. The brightness can be set to your own preferences, and the 20 brightness settings also allow you to use the clock as a bedside lamp. If you're not convinced, this might shed a little extra light on this technology: The National Sleep Foundation chose to endorse Philips' therapeutic lamps as their official light therapy products. Find the Wake-Up Light at Sears for $119.99.
Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) strikes most often during the doldrums of winter, when changes in weather and a lack of natural light can cause sufferers to experience depressive symptoms. Daily periods of light therapy, using a specifically-designed white or blue light with a high output of lumens, have been shown to boost the mood of some SAD sufferers. There are a number of specially-calibrated lamps available; Northern Light Technologies offers several, including this surprisingly-stylish pyramid-shaped Luxor lamp. It's available for $195 at northernlighttechnologies.ca.
It's the time of the year when cold and flu viruses run rampant — and little ones are particularly susceptible to those nasty bugs. For parents dealing with a sick baby, an at-home ear thermometer is an indispensable tool. Braun has souped up their ThermoScan thermometer with a pre-warmed tip that ensures an accurate reading, as well as a flashing light that helps guide positioning within the ear. You can store up to eight temperature readings in the thermometer's built-in memory, and the 21 included replaceable tips keep germ transfer to a minimum. Find it at toysrus.ca for $79.99.