Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Tips for Helping to Keep Your Family Cold & Flu Free #lysolcoldandflu

No one wants to get sick, and with Cold & Flu Season upon us... as surely as the temperature and leaves will fall, so come those pesky illnesses.

According to the CDC, in the United States the season for influenza (flu) is from October through the Winter and can last until May. That is a long time to go avoiding those annoying germs! Okay, I can't guarantee that you will be illness free this year, but I do have some tips to follow to help you avoid as much as possible.

First off, the burning question... What is the difference between the Common Cold and the Flu? They are each caused by different viruses and colds are often milder. You can't tell from the symptoms alone though, your doctor can perform some simple tests to make the ultimate determination. For more on this topic, check out the CDC fact sheet.

Okay, regardless of the bug bugging you, how can you minimize exposure?

Flu Shots - This is your best bet for avoiding the flu. The flue vaccine protects against the three top strains believed to hit each year. Some years the guess isn't perfect, but especially for the young and elderly, this is an important step in prevention. My husband and I will each be getting our shots since we are the primary care givers for two small children and have contact with my husband's aging grandparents.

Elbow Coughs - I love that kids are being taught this cool trick in school now. We touch everything with our hands, so why would we cough our germs into them? Bend your elbow and cough. This is such a slick trick!

Wash Your Hands - I know, is it too simple? Well, hot water and soap is still a great way to decrease germs. I carry soap sheets (thin single servings of soap) as well as sanitizing hand spray in my diaper bag. Be careful of the sanitizers with small children. I love both because I never know what kind of situation I will have dirty hands in. I am teaching my children to wash their hands before and after meals, after playtime, or when coming home from a trip out.

Stay Home - If you are feeling sick, don't share your germs with the rest of the world. In fact, staying home and resting can help you recover faster. So grab some chicken soup, a cup of tea and go back to bed.

Get Plenty of Sleep - This is my weakness, but I know when the flu season hits I need my sleep. Getting a full night's sleep helps me stay healthy and a healthy body can fight off germs more easily. This also coincides with shorter days so I don't mind the extra shuteye.

Clean Surfaces Daily - When our friends and family are sick around us I get a little fanatical about cleaning surfaces regularly. I love my bleach wipes for ease of use and the large amount of germs they kill, but I don't use them more than once a day. I also love to use a hot soapy water solution on my counter tops, door knobs, toilet seat, light switch covers, etc. I don't want to kill all germs in our home, but I do want to reduce the numbers.

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This is what my family will be doing to keep the cold and flu season away from our house. It isn't always perfect and little kids are germ magnets, but so far we have all stayed pretty healthy. I believe all of these habits are great to teach my children at a young age and it should start at home.

What about your family? Do you have any tips or tricks to share? I would love to hear them.

*Disclaimer - 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.

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