As it starts to get colder outside, flu season is approaching. It seems like everyone is sick this time of year. However, there are precautions that you can take to avoid catching the flu, cold, or other sicknesses going around. Here are some basic tips that will help keep your family healthy this winter.
Keeping Your Family Safe and Healthy
The viruses that cause colds and flu can be spread in many ways, but the most common is that it is picked up on your hands and spread to your mouth, nose, or eyes. This means that there are some easy precautions you can take. Be particularly careful about touching your eyes, nose, and mouth. Try not to touch your face at all unless you have just washed your hands.
Wash your hands regularly. This is basic knowledge, but it’s essential in preventing germs from spreading. It’s a good idea to wash your hands whenever you might have touched something or someone who is infected. Wash for at least 20 seconds with soap and hot water. You can also carry hand sanitizer with you so you can sanitize your hands when you might not be close to a sink.
Boost your immune system. There are some easy activities that will boost your family’s immune system to help you fight off illnesses. The first is to eat a balanced diet. Also, make sure that you stay hydrated and drink enough water. Getting enough sleep is also important for a healthy immune system. And, of course, getting exercise never hurts.
Keeping Your Home Clean
The last thing you want to do during cold and flu season is harbor germs in your home. It’s impossible to keep germs out as you pick them up on your hands, clothes, shoes, etc when you go out. However, you don’t have to let those germs live in your home!
Wash your clothes and linens frequently. You might even encourage your children to change out of their school clothes when they get home is germs have been going around. When you wash your laundry, use hot water and detergent to kill the germs.
You will also want to wipe down all of the touchpoints in your house. Touchpoints are the places that you and your family touch all the time, such as doorknobs and light switches. These are the places where germs are most likely to collect, so keeping them clean will go a long way towards a healthier home.
You’ll also want to clean the places that your clothes and shoes touch the most often, that is the carpets and furniture. Just think about it, you pick up germs on your clothes all day and then hop onto your couch when you get home. It gets full of germs! Just vacuuming isn’t enough. A professional upholstery cleaner will be able to remove germs from your couch and other furniture, You will also want to get your carpets professionally cleaned for the same reason.
Preventing the Spread of Germs
Of course, it can be impossible to avoid getting sick altogether. If you or your family does get sick do whatever you can to keep from spreading it to others. The best way to keep others from getting sick is to not expose them in the first place. If you’re sick, stay home!
Move away from people before coughing or sneezing. Use a tissue if possible, then throw it away immediately. If a tissue isn’t available, use the vampire cough: hold your upper arm against your mouth and nose, as though you’re holding a cape to cover your face like a vampire from the movies.
Disinfect often. Anything you touch frequently, from toys and doorknobs to kitchen surfaces to couches and pillows, should be sprayed and wiped down with a disinfectant.
Seeing a Doctor
If you do get sick, don’t be a hero, see a doctor! Many people try to convince themselves and others that they’re not sick. They don’t want to be seen as weak, or they feel like they’re overreacting. But a doctor can help you get better and keep from spreading the sickness to others.
You should definitely 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 olds who has a fever.
These tips should help keep you and your family healthier this winter!