I absolutely love the vibrant colors and cooler weather fall brings, but at the same time, I dread the onset of the cold and flu season.
Inevitably, someone in our home picks up a “bug” and spreads it around until we’ve all had our sniffly-stay-under-the-covers-until-it-goes-away kind of days.
We definitely work towards minimizing our risks, though, and generally are successful in having no repeat episodes if we do manage to get bogged down by a seasonal cold.
There are many, simple measures you can take to keep your family protected during flu season. Here are a few ideas to get you started on the path to a healthy and flu-free winter:
Encourage hand washing and/or sanitizing. It’s common knowledge that bacteria are everywhere and children pick up large doses of it, particularly in the school environment. Encourage your children to wash their hands before meals and after recess, at a minimum. Pack a travel size hand sanitizer in their backpack. Let them choose the scent or the style and you’ll have no problems getting them to use it regularly.
Consider getting flu vaccinations each year. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommends that everyone 6 months of age or older is recommended to be vaccinated against the flu and that flu vaccinations should updated yearly. If you got the 2009 H1N1 flu vaccine last season, you still need to get the 2010-11 seasonal flu vaccine.
If you or your children do not like shots, the flu vaccine is also available in mist form. For more information on this, ask your doctor or visit www.cdc.gov/flu
Practice good sleep habits. Sleep deprivation can not only affect your memory, weight loss efforts, and attitude, but it affects your body’s ability to fight off germs effectively. Make sure everyone gets enough zzz’s in every day-including you, mom!
For more information on healthy sleep habits, visit the All About Sleep page on KidsHealth.org.
Eat healthy. Along with good sleep habits, it’s important for your body’s immune system that you have good eating habits. Check out Livestrong.com for an interesting article on Healthy Food Choices for Preventing the Flu
Create a happy home. Find lots of time for family fun and laughter. Current studies have revealed that people with positive emotional attitudes are not infected as often and experience fewer symptoms than people with a negative emotional style.
For more ideas and more information on keeping your family healthy through the flu season, visit the CDC website http://www.cdc.gov/flu