cold and flu season tipsEvery year, winter brings with it cold and flu season, and it seems like there is nothing you can do to avoid getting sick. This isn’t the case though! Of course there are no guarantees in life, but you can greatly reduce your chance of getting sick if you follow these tips.

Keep Yourself and Your Family Healthy

It’s important to understand that the viruses that cause colds and flu are spread when they come in contact with your eyes, nose, and mouth. These germs are often spread by hand, so it’s important to make sure that you and your family keep your hands cleans. Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and hot water regularly. It’s a good idea to wash your hands whenever you might have touched something or someone who is infected. Be particularly careful about touching your eyes, nose, and mouth if you haven’t washed your hands in a while. If no soap or hot water is available, an alcohol-based hand sanitizer will help, but wash your hands when you can.

Another way to keep yourself healthy is to boost your immune system. One of the best ways to do this is by eating a healthy diet. Be sure to feed your family a balanced, healthy diet, and make sure your kids eat their vegetables! Part of a healthy diet is drinking enough water. Carry a water bottle with you and get one for your kids to make it easy to drink more water. BE sure that you’re also getting exercise. Not only will you feel better, but you’ll also have a stronger immune system which can help you not get sick.

Keep Your Home Clean

You can also keep your family healthier by killing the germs in your home. Even if no one in your family is sick, you’re out and about all day and picking up germs from those around you. You then bring those home on your clothes and everything you touch. Be sure to wash your clothes and other linens regularly. Use a detergent and a hot dryer cycle to be sure that you’re killing germs. Also, wipe down the places in your home that you touch the most, such as doorknobs and light switches, with a disinfectant every day. 

The next step is to deep clean your home. Wipe down your kitchen regularly, especially the counter and floor where bacteria is likely to grow. Stay on top of your dishes as well. Your soft surfaces, such as your upholstery and carpets, tend to catch germs and allergens from your air. This is great because it cleans your air for you, but you do need to clean these surfaces to get rid of the bacteria completely. Your local carpet cleaners can remove the allergens, bacteria and other germs from your carpet and upholstery so that you can feel confident that your home is clean and germ-free. 

Prevent the Spread of Germs

If you or one of your children does happen to get sick, it becomes your responsibility to prevent the spread of germs. Stay home if you are sick. Your office can manage if one person is out sick, but if everyone is sick, it will be a problem. Keep your kids home from school if they are sick to prevent the spread of germs to other children. If only some of your family is sick, try to keep them away from the rest of your family. Maybe keep your sick child in the basement in front of the tv, and away from the rest of the family.

If you can’t stay away from people, try your best to keep your germs from spreading to those around you. Move away from people before coughing or sneezing, and use a tissue if possible. If you don’t have a tissue, use the vampire cough: hold your upper arm against your mouth and nose, covering them both, as though you’re holding a cape to cover your face, like a vampire from the movies. Be sure to wash your clothing immediately to prevent the germs from spreading. Also be sure to disinfect anything you touch regularly, like your keyboard to kill the germs. 

See a Doctor

An important part of keeping germs from spreading is getting proper treatment when you need it. Many people try to convince themselves and others that they’re not sick or they need to see a doctor. But a doctor can help you get better and keep from spreading the sickness to others.

Not every cold requires treatment from a doctor, but you should see a doctor if:

  • You have a temperature of 100.4 or higher.
  • Your symptoms last more than 10 days.
  • Your symptoms are severe or unusual.
  • You have a child younger than 3-month-old who has a fever.

 

We can all make a difference in staying healthy and preventing the spread of the flu and cold this winter time!