Cold and flu season is always a nerve-racking time for me for a couple of reasons. One being that as a family of 7, when one gets something, we ALL get something. The other being that my youngest contracted Pertussis at the end of cold and flu season when she was only 6 weeks old and it was a very scary time for all us. Having asthma myself, it is very easy for me to crash if I develop a cold so I do everything within my power to make sure those nasty germs keep their distance!
Some of the steps we take to stay cold and flu-free are:
1. Frequently washing our hands, especially when out in public. So many people seem to get out and about when they are ill or not feeling well and end up spreading germs all over the place. Especially children who don't know enough yet to cover their mouth when they cough or sneeze.
2. I ALWAYS carry hand sanitizer, and so do several of my children. When it's not possible to wash our hands with soap and water, a small amount of sanitizer will do the job.
3. I keep a tub of Lysol sanitizing wipes in my van. I know a lot of stores have started carrying these wipes near the carts inside the store, but more often than not, I put the baby in a cart that is in the outside cart corral. Having the wipes with me, I can go ahead and wipe the cart down (paying close attention to the seat and handle areas) and sit her down in the cart without fear of her catching who-knows-what. I just recently won a Phit-grip for the cart and I am anxiously awaiting it's arrival. That will cut down on the germs tremendously!
4. It's a rule in our house, if you are sick, you wear a mask. That might seem rather extreme, but it has kept several of us from catching what other family members have had on more than one occasion.
5. Having an infant in the house, I frequently clean hard surfaces and household items such as remotes, telephones, and computer keyboards with something such as the Lysol sanitizing wipes. Those are some of the most touched places in the house and it's important to remember to clean them. Don't forget the light switches as well!
6. Even my 3 year old knows if he sneezes or coughs, to do so by covering his mouth with a tissue, the back of his hand, or into his upper arm and to wash his hands immediately afterwards and after blowing his nose.
7. We avoid sick people. Our extended family knows how I am about germs and if somebody who is sick is planning on attending a family gathering, they tell me before-hand so I can make the decision to go or to stay home. More often than not, we stay home.
8. My husband works at a Children's Hospital. When he comes home, the first thing he does is to remove his boots at the door. Walking the floors of the hospital from one end to the other, there is no telling what kind of germs he might be bringing home.
9. We try to eat as healthy as possible. There are great immune boosting vitamins and minerals in fruits and vegetables that you won't find in junk food.
10. We aren't much on vitamin supplements, but when we do feel like we are coming down with something, we usually drink extra OJ for vitamin C and more often than not, avoid getting sick.
11. Getting enough sleep is very important in keeping your immune system working like it is supposed to. Having said that, I'm terrible about getting enough sleep and quite often stay up very late. When I do that, I find myself susceptible to colds so I try to get in as much sleep as I can. My children, even my older ones, have regular bedtimes.
12. Exercise is also important in boosting the immune system, but it's always something I am horrible at which is probably why I'm sick more often than my kids are. They get plenty of exercise inside and out. As homeschoolers, when the weather is nice we are usually outside and since we live in the country, there are so many opportunities for physical exercise.
These are some of the strategies that work for us. Due to 4 of my 5 children being preemies and my health condition, they have just become a way of life for us, but I do believe that they have helped to keep us as healthy as we are. That's not to say that we NEVER get sick, but those times are fewer and farther between!
We do more not just because we can, but because we must. Health matters. To all of us. That's why we've started the Lysol Mission for Health. With new mom programs, healthy habits initiatives in schools and disaster relief efforts, we are dedicated to doing more for health. Our mission is fueled by passion and backed by our expertise in killing germs. So when you use Lysol at home, you'll know you're a part of something bigger.
For more information on Lysol, please visit them at http://www.lysol.com/mission-for-health.
They can also be found on FACEBOOK.
**Disclosure: “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.”