Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Cold and Flu Season 2011 - Ready to Fight

I am a four seasons girl. I love playing in puddles, watching flowers bloom, and planting my garden in the spring. I love to swim, eat fresh veggies, and catch fireflies in the summer. Fall brings the crunching of leaves, watching football, and the comfort of my favorite sweater. Winter means ice skating and sledding followed by hot cocoa next to a warm fire. The one season I could definitely do without, is cold and flu season.

As soon as the girls head back to school in the fall, I know that cold and flu season is right around the corner. It starts with a tiny sniffle or a scratchy throat . . . and works its way around everyone in the school (and my house!) We do what we can to avoid the sniffles and coughs, though a few seem almost unavoidable. We have been able to avoid the flu so far though. (Where's some wood? . . . knock, knock, knock).

Here's what we have done, and will continue to do (until it stops working for us):
  • Wash our hands - I am pretty diligent about requiring the girls to wash their hands before eating, after sneezing, or whenever we come in from being out and about around other people.  While I prefer a good hand washing to hand sanitizer, I also keep that on hand whenever we do leave the house.  The girls are great at reminding me to sanitize when we're out running errands. 
  • Cough and Sneeze into our elbows - It is as simple as it sounds. By not catching sneezes and coughs with our hands we are less likely to spread them to others.
  • Keep your hands off your face - Your face has too many mucous membranes. We try to avoid giving the germs on our hands direct access to the rest of our bodies.  This one is easier said than done.  The girls always seem to be touching their faces.  I find that pulling their hair back seems to help with that too.  It may seem odd, but when their hair isn't bothering them they seem less likely to touch their face. 
  • Eat right and exercise - By making healthy choices and keeping our bodies in the best possible condition we like to think that we are at an advantage to fight off the germs that find their way in.
  • Get plenty of sleep -  Like eating right and exercising, getting enough sleep is also vital to keep your body in the best condition for fighting off bad germs.  My girls sleep about 11-12 hours per night if I let them.  By keeping their bed times early enough, I can allow them to sleep well and wake up on their own.
  • Sanitize dishes - My dishwasher has a sanitize setting.  It gets the water temperature high enough to kill most of the germs on my dishes.  During cold and flu season, or whenever someone in the house has a sniffle, I'm sure to use that setting.  I've been surprised that it really does seem to help prevent the spread of illness from one family member to another in our house.
I am not a scientist and have not studied cold and flu prevention.  Some of the methods that seem to work for us might actual just be coincidental.  No matter what you do to stay healthy during this cold and flu season, I hope it works for you and your family. If you have any remedies or tips that you swear by, I'd love to hear them. I'm always ready to research or try a new idea that might keep my own family healthier as well.

Disclaimer:  I wrote this blog post while participating in the SocialMoms and Lysol blogging program, for a gift card worth $40. For more information on how you can participate, click here.


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