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Ready or not here it comes, cold and flu season is inevitable. Nothing will completely eliminate the risks of you and your family getting a cold or the flu, but there are many things you can do to reduce your chances. Here are ten ways that I believe can help prepare you and your family for this merciless onslaught.
1. Make sure your medicine cabinet is fully stocked.
While you’re healthy, take the time to stock your medicine cabinet. You should check with your doctor or pharmacist if you have a chronic medical condition or have children or a baby. Safely dispose of expired medicines and make a list of what you need to replenish. Consider including fever and pain relief medicines, decongestants, antihistamines, and cough medicines. You may also want to get nasal sprays (decongestant and saline), cough drops, and throat lozenges.
2. Stock up on other supplies.
Think about other supplies you’ll need. Make sure you have a good thermometer(verify that it works) and a humidifier can also come in handy. Then focus on the basics like; tissues, hand sanitizer, and antibacterial soap. I would also make sure that it’s all readily available so you’re ready for the first sneeze.
3. Fill your pantry with beneficial drinks and comfort foods.
A run to the grocery store once you’re sick isn’t fun. So think through it now and get what you need ahead of time. Fluids are key when you have a cold or flu. Dehydration is the biggest reason you feel so lousy with cold or flu. Water is the best choice, herbal tea can be soothing, and fruit juices give you some extra vitamin C. Pick up some convenience foods that are easy to make. No one feels like cooking when they are sick.For example, ice pops can feel good on a sore throat and chicken soup can be just what the doctor ordered.
4. Wash your hands properly.
Washing your hands properly is one of the most effective ways to prevent colds and flu. Start with warm water and anti-bacterial soap. Work the lather for 20 seconds, paying extra attention to fingernails and jewelry. To help children judge the time, have them sing “Happy Birthday” two times. Then, rinse and dry your hands thoroughly. Disposable towels are best when you are sick. Use them to turn off the water. This will protect you from getting germs from the faucet right back on your hands.
5. Try your best not to touch your face.
Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth. These are the most vulnerable places where cold viruses gain entry into your system. The same virus that gives you a cold can also cause pink eye. Keeping your hands sterile will keep any cold germs on them at bay. If you need to touch these areas, wash your hands before and after.
6. Get the flu vaccine.
The flu is highly contagious and spreads differently than colds. People can spread the flu a day before symptoms show up. The vaccine can protect you against the most common strains of the flu. It changes yearly based on predictions of the upcoming flu season. The vaccine is usually available by October, but you can get it anytime during the flu season.
7. Make healthy living a habit.
Healthy living habits will boost your immune system. Getting run down and tired can make your immune system weak. You should eat a balanced diet with plenty of fresh foods and healthy proteins such as lean meat, chicken, and fish. Be sure to stay hydrated with fluids, exercise regularly, and get a good night’s sleep. Adults need 7 to 8 hours a day, children need more. Gauge if you’re getting enough by paying attention to any daytime sleepiness or nodding off while driving.
8. Keep household surfaces clean.
Cold and flu viruses can survive on surfaces outside the human body for a few seconds or up to a couple days. They live longer on hard non-porous surfaces, like metal, plastic, and wood. Cleaning with disinfectants will kill cold and flu germs. Look for products containing bleach, alcohol, pine oil, citric acid, hydrogen peroxide, or ammonium compounds. An EPA registration number will tell you if the product meets specifications for disinfectants. To find this you may have to look for it in the small print areas.
9. Plan for sick days.
If you work outside the home, make a plan for those sick days. Even if you feel like you could go into work, your co-workers will appreciate you keeping your germs at home. Verify that you have several sick days available to use during the season. If possible work from home when you have a sick child. You can also try to enlist the help of family or neighbors to help with sick kids or look into sick-child day care programs.
10. Take every measure to stop the spread of germs.
If you’re healthy, stay away from sick people as much as possible. If you do get sick, do your best to keep germs to yourself. Try to cough or sneeze into a tissue, (or into your sleeve in a pinch) and then discard the tissue and wash your hands. Don’t share items such as utensils and cups. If you know that you are contagious do as much as you can to limit contact with others.
We all dread this season of the year, so it is imperative that we all take the steps to keep the spread of germs to a minimum. I hope we all can have a symptom free winter season. Don’t forget to view the Cold and Flu Finder to learn more about cold and flu conditions in your area.
This post is sponsored by ColdFluandYou. As always, all opinions are 100% mine.