I bring you this post with a balled up tissue stuffed in one nostril, sporting bags under my eyes that might lead strangers to believe I’ve taken up boxing in my free time.
Yeah, I’ve got a cold.
Not my first cold of the year and probably not my last, but the first one bad enough to really make me think about our daily habits and cleanliness standards and how to prevent this nasty bug from intruding again. Here are some of my conclusions:
1. Wash your hands.
All the time.
I mean it.
Wash everyone’s hands after touching anything out in public at the grocery store, playground, library, everywhere. This might be the easiest stop to keep kids healthy during flu season.
And do it the right way–use plenty of soap and hot water and rub your hands together long enough to sing “Happy Birthday” twice.
2. Get your rest.
I can only imagine the chuckles from parents around the globe right now daydreaming of a restful night’s sleep; but seriously, you need to rest.
Even if you can’t sleep, just lie down. One hour of lying down does the same for your body as 15 minutes of restful sleep. Have your partner take the kids to the park, to their grandparents, and just sleep it off.
3. Get outside.
As much as you need your rest, you need fresh air. Breathing in that stale sick-filled air over and over again is doing you no good.
4. Eat healthy.
Don’t just down your multivitamin with a swig of Cola, you have to eat healthy to stay healthy.
Your body can only absorb so much from a vitamin, and any doctor will tell you it’s much better to eat an orange than to take a dose of Vitamin C. Remember this–you ARE what you EAT.
5. Stay active.
It’s a well known fact that people who exercise regularly are generally more healthy than those who do not. Raising the heart rate and getting more air flowing through the body will keep the lungs healthy, happy, and free of infections and build-up.
Whether it be with mouth wash, warm salt water, or even plain tap water; numerous studies have pointed out the positive effect that gargling has on preventing respiratory infections. Gargling on the regular helps clear mucous from the airways.
In studies, subjects who gargled daily were 50% less likely to catch upper respiratory infections. Also, those who did catch them fought them off quicker.
Make it into a fun game or contest to keep kids healthy during flu season.
Germs are everywhere, the problem is that you never know which kinds of germs are where.
Cold germs can survive on surfaces for several hours. Regularly disinfecting areas that get a lot of outside traffic like door knobs, mailbox lids, and anything the kids share at school will help your chance of fighting the nasty cold bug. Just don’t make yourself crazy by wiping down every nook and cranny of the house.
There’s no surefire way to prevent illness from happening, but thinking proactively about your daily habits can help keep kids healthy during flu season.
Remember not to blame yourself if you or your kids do catch a bug. People can carry cold germs without showing any symptoms of infection.
Written by Sarah Antrim