10 Tips for Helping to Keep Your Family Flu and Cold Free This Season

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Rosie is home today with two of the most contagious illnesses that stalk the halls of kindergartens everywhere – pink eye and strep throat!  So I need to review some tips for helping to stop the spread of illnesses like the flu and common cold!

1.  Wash Your Hands Frequently 2.  Wash Your Hands Frequently  3. Wash Your Hands, you guessed it, frequently!

Hand washing, properly done, is the best way to stop the spread of germs.  This is straight from the Center for Disease Control (CDC) on how to wash your hands.

  • Wet your hands with clean running water (warm or cold) and apply soap.
  • Rub your hands together to make a lather and scrub them well; be sure to scrub the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails.
  • Continue rubbing your hands for at least 20 seconds. Need a timer? Hum the “Happy Birthday” song from beginning to end twice.
  • Rinse your hands well under running water.
  • Dry your hands using a clean towel or air dry.

Photo: Using hand sanitizer

What should you use to wash your hands?  Washing hands with soap and water is the best way to reduce the number of  germs on them!

  • Before, during, and after preparing food
  • Before eating food
  • After using the toilet
  • After changing diapers or cleaning up a child who has used the toilet
  • Before and after caring for someone who is sick
  • After blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing
  • After touching an animal or animal waste
  • After touching garbage
  • Before and after treating a cut or wound
In other words, OFTEN!!
4.  Get a Flu Vaccine Every Flu Season
When I took Rosie to the doctor yesterday, I asked her pediatrician about getting a flu shot.  Because she was sick, he advised against doing it that day.  He said that any symptoms reacting to the flu shot would be indistinguishable from symptoms of the strep throat, so it would be advisable to wait.  But I will be taking her back for her vaccine when she is over the strep.  Did you know that if you don’t like needles, you can get a nasal-spray flu vaccine?  That’s what Rosie had last year and it was much more pleasant for her (and me!).
5.  Get a Good Night’s Sleep
And as a huge Sealy mattress fan, I have to add, “on a good mattress”!  Your body needs sleep to regroup and heal.  It’s critical to get sufficient sleep and keep that immune system as strong as possible.
6.  Don’t Share Cups or Silverware
Especially with children, we often end up sharing our beverages and eating utensils.  As much as possible, you should avoid sharing with them and encourage them to avoid sharing with other children.  Because Rosie is an only child, we are always pushing “sharing” BUT not cups and silverware!
7.  Clean Kitchen and Bathroom Surfaces Frequently
Changing the sheets and vacuuming can be postponed to weekly jobs, but cleaning the kitchen countertops and table has to be done multiple times a day.  And bathrooms (often named as the worst job in the house!) has to be done frequently as well.  Germs love to reside in wet places and unfortunately it’s also where we touch surfaces more often.

8.  Keep a Container of Anti-Bacterial Wipes in Your Car

The car is a place where many of us snack and frequently touch the same surfaces as other members of the family.  But we don’t always wash our car interior as often as we should *guilty blush*.  I started putting a container of wipes in the car and while I’m waiting in line at the school, or other places, I’ll use the opportunity to wipe arm rests, cup holders, radio buttons, etc.

9 .  Use Your Dishwasher to Disinfect

Know the difference between cleaning and disinfecting and use your dishwasher for more than just dishes!  Pot scrubbers, sink baskets, cutting board, food preparation utensils and even some toys can be run through the dishwasher.

10.  Cough and Sneeze Into a Tissue, and Dispose of Immediately

Teach your children to cough and/or sneeze into a tissue and, this is the difficult part for Rosie, throw it away immediately.  Don’t put it in your pocket, don’t set it down on the table, don’t hold on to it – throw it away.  If no tissue is available, sneeze or cough into your elbow, not your hands!

Staying healthy involves eating right, exercising regularly, and taking simple steps to avoid spreading germs like those listed above.  I hope this winter season will be healthier for all of us!  We’re not off to a good start, but we’re going to try to make this the last illness of the season!

About Lysol
We do more not just because we can, but because we must. Health matters. To all of us. That’s why we’ve started the Lysol Mission for Health. With new mom programs, healthy habits initiatives in schools and disaster relief efforts, we are dedicated to doing more for health. Our mission is fueled by passion and backed by our expertise in killing germs. So when you use Lysol at home, you’ll know you’re a part of something bigger.

More info on Lysol: http://www.lysol.com/mission-for-health

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Disclosure:  I wrote this blog post while participating in the SocialMoms and Lysol blogging program, for a gift card worth $40. For more information on how you can participate, click here  http://lysolcoldandflu.socialmoms.com/about.

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