With winter upon us, and flu hysteria abounding, everyone wants to know how to prevent the flu. Since there is no cure for the flu, the best measures that you can take, certainly, are prevention. How should you go about preventing the flu? And, as a parent, perhaps even more importantly, what should you do for your children so that they don’t get the flu? Here, I’ve compiled 7 medically recommended flu prevention ideas. This is of course in addition to having your home cleaned and disinfected by MaidPro on regular basis.
Flu Prevention Tip #1 – Out, Out That Damn Spot! (Hand Washing)
Certainly, the easiest flu prevention technique and the one that is said to be the most effective is hand washing. Wash, wash, and wash some more! Flu viruses spread by direct contact. This could mean that you touch a phone that another person with the flu touched, or that you shook hands with someone who sneezed into their hand (more on that soon). Wash your hands with soap and water constantly – and encourage your kids to do so as well. Give each child a hand sanitizer for school and encourage them to use it. Make sure you don’t go crazy with all of this hand washing, however. Diligence and insanity are not the same thing!
Flu Prevention Tip #2 – Elbow Sneezing
Kids across America are being taught to cough and sneeze into their sleeve or elbow area, and not onto their hands. This is because germs and viruses cling to bare hands. When you or your children sneeze, try to do so into a tissue. If no tissue is around, then cough into your clothing or turn your head away from others and cough in another direction.
Flu Prevention Tip #3 – Eating and Drinking
For flu prevention, you want to drink plenty of fluids as they will flush out your system. For an adult, this would mean 8-10 glasses of healthy fluids each day. For a child, that number would be between 4 and 6. You know if you are drinking enough if your urine is almost clear; if it’s yellow, you or your child needs more to drink. Make sure everyone in the family is eating dark green, red and yellow vegetables and fruit, as the natural chemicals in plants give you the vitamins you need to stay healthy. Another important food item is yogurt. Some research has shown that one cup of low-fat yogurt each day can reduce your chance of getting a cold by 25%. The beneficial bacteria in yogurt, they think, may increase production of areas of the immune system which fight diseases.
Flu Prevention Tip #4 – Fresh Air
Many people think that they need to hide inside during the colder weather months, and avoid getting out into the air. Actually, the reverse is true for flu prevention. Heating units dry out the body and make you more vulnerable to cold and flu viruses. Also, since everyone is together in doors, this makes more germs circulate in crowded, dry rooms. So, get outside and bring the family with you! When it’s not raining or snowing, get some fresh air, take a short walk, and enjoy some much needed time outside.
Flu Prevention Tip #5 – Get Your Body Moving
Everyone – kids and adults alike – can benefit from aerobic exercise. Exercise helps your body to increase the virus-killing cells by moving oxygen from your lungs to your blood and more. Make sure that you exercise at least three times a week for thirty minutes (obviously, even more is great) and make sure that your kids move around every day! In the afternoon, kids should be playing rather than watching t.v. or playing video games.
Flu Prevention Tip #6 – School Supplies
Make sure that your kids have certain supplies with them at school. These include a reusable bottle for water that is labeled with their name. Teach them that they shouldn’t use the school water fountain, as it can become contaminated with germs. Teach children not to share food with other children in their class, and make sure that the lunches you pack them each day or full of foods they will be happy to eat. Finally, include a small towel in their backpacks. This is for them to place on their desk or cafeteria table so that their food stays on their towel, and not on the table that’s been in contact with many other kids.
Flu Prevention Tip #7 – Cleaning Toys
If you have small children at home, use soap and water on a weekly basis to disinfect surfaces, toys and objects that your children will put into their mouths. Think about this when you are out and about as well. If your one year old likes to chew on the handle of the grocery cart, purchase a toy to distract her or a cover for the cart handle bar (these are sold in most baby stores). If you eat out a lot, purchase throw-away plastic mats that you can put down on the public high-chair or at the table.
Preventing flu does not need to become your full time job; nor does it need to keep you up at night with worry. Be organized with your flu prevention, and vigilant with these tips. Hopefully, your ounce of prevention will be worth a pound of health this winter!
If you have any other tips please post! Also check out this short video on Flu Prevention.