Does getting the flu seem inevitable this time of year? Do you feel helplessly waiting for it to just hit your family? We’ve put together some simple tips to help you combat the flu this year. You may be surprised at how big an impact these small measures can have in defending your home this year. Take these simple measures now and spend less time surrounded by tissues with sick days adding up at work or missed school days.
First, wash your hands!
Minimize touching germs whenever possible, however, germs on your hands are inevitable. Therefore keep washing your hands! Sing your ABCs while you wash to make sure you wash long enough. Treat yourself to some good-smelling soap. Do whatever you have to do to ensure you wash your hands well enough to kill those germs. It may seem silly but this is one of the best ways to prevent the flu bug from spreading! Try to keep the germs off your hands to begin with by avoiding dirty door knobs and shaking hands. If possible try giving a “pound it” or “knuckles” instead of an open hand shake or high five. The percent of germs on the outside of your hand that touches during a fist bump is significantly less than the inside of your hands.
If you want to learn more about the proper way to wash your hands, read our other article titled: “How to Properly Wash your Hands and Why”
Sanitize germ homes!
Despite our best efforts to wash our hands, often we clean our hands only to pick up our germy phone right after we wash! Leave sanitizing wipes out this season and make a habit of grabbing them often. Wipe down doorknobs, light switches and all those touch screens! Think about places that different people frequently touch but aren’t commonly cleaned and it’s safe to say there are germs hanging out there. Many people clean their kitchens and bathrooms frequently from the obvious germs that accumulate their but forget the unseen germs on places like phones that are full of germs!
Take care of yourself!
Stop slacking off on those little things that boost your immune system. Although there are plenty of new ideas about how to do this- don’t ignore the basic three. Take your vitamins, drink plenty of liquids and get enough sleep. Most of us refer to these things the minute we start to feel a sore throat coming on but if we can make a habit of them before the bug strikes than our body will be much better equipped to fend off those drowsy symptoms before they start. A tall glass of orange juice does not replace your vitamins. Vitamin C is not the only immune booster available to you. For example, vitamin D also has some powerfully germ-fighting properties. Take a multivitamin daily to assure you are getting every variety of defense. However, natural vitamins are not to be ignored either. Make sure you are eating well and not filling up on holiday treats and eggnog, but getting your full rainbow of natural vitamins to strengthen your body’s natural defenses. Replace some sugar drinks with eight glasses a water a day and try harder to get eight hours of sleep at night. Even if that means turning off your phones before going to bed and not reading your friends latest Facebook post!
If the symptoms do hit- don’t ignore them! It’s easy to view pushing through flu symptoms and continuing work as normal when you are sick as a sign of strength- but it’s not! Listen to your body and take a step back the day you feel sick. A few days out at the beginning of your symptoms could make the difference between the flu lasting a few days and a few weeks! Not to mention taking a few days off in the beginning can prevent spreading it to all your friends and coworkers while you are trying to push through it. The more the flu spreads and changes slightly from person to person the higher the chances of you getting a different strain all over again in a few weeks!
Avoid Airborne germs
This may be the hardest one depending upon your daily routine and where you work but if it is possible it is very much worth mentioning. Even while washing hands and touchscreens as much as possible, a lot of germs are airborne and aside from wearing a mask, breathing is pretty much impossible to prevent. Although school and work may be hard to avoid if there are any popular places around flu season that you CAN skip- do it! For example, order online instead of strolling the mall or have a family movie night in your house instead of going to the theaters. For those times when they just can’t be avoided, make sure you are sneezing into your elbow ( and teaching our kids to do the same) and keep hand sanitizer handy for moments that washing with soap and water aren’t possible. Get in the habit of washing with soap and water every time you come home so those germs aren’t transferred to your home. I like to always have some hand sanitizer in both of our cars and in my daughters backpack so that we can reduce the amount of germs that come our way.
Talk to the professionals
Use what modern medicine has to offer and go talk to your doctor. (Although I would recommend going first thing in the morning so there are less germs floating around- and use that hand sanitizer by every nurse’s station.) Get the flu shot! Even if it does not prevent you from getting sick, it can lessen the length of the symptoms. Go see the doctor when symptoms arise. Common flu fighting medicine must be taken within the first 72 hours in order for it to be the most effective. Local doctors will also have the best advice for your area. While the internet can give good generic information, your doctor will be able to tell you information on the specific strain of the flu in your area.
Remove your Shoes!
If your anything like me, I like to wear my shoes in the house – This is a major no-no! Think about where your shoes have been during the day – walking in dirt, public restrooms, bits of animal droppings, grass, and other unwanted and unclean matter – According to Dr. Reynolds, Microbiologist at the university of Arizona, “Potentially harmful bacteria can survive on your shoes for days or even weeks” When you walk around the house, you are spreading this all over your house and if you have a little one in the home that is crawling around your home then they will be getting it on their hands and then in their mouths!
Defending your home from the flu this year does not need to include a list of 100 ground breaking new ideas. You do not have to down a glass of vinegar and ginger every morning if it makes you sick to your stomach. These basics that we all learned growing up still put up a powerful fight against getting sick. Make these proven defenses habits in your home and enjoy more time doing the things you love this season and less time in your sick bed!