A few years ago, I caught a mild flu that came on somewhat suddenly and as the minutes ticked by, I felt increasingly worse. I remember this because my husband called me on his way home from work and he'd stopped at the store to pick up a few items. Meanwhile, I had to be at the front door to receive our daughter from the bus while I had a pre-schooler running around the house getting into stuff. I literally laid on the floor by the door waiting for the bus to arrive so I could signal that I was home by opening the door. It was the worst I'd ever remember feeling in my entire life. I never want to feel that bad ever again and I certainly don't want anyone in my family feeling that bad either.
While there's no guarantee you won't catch something, there are 10 tips you can employ to keep your family healthy this cold and flu season.
- Experts recommend getting a flu shot to avoid getting the flu. Lysol offers a great opportunity to save by offering a $5 rebate when you get a flu shot and purchase one (1) Lysol product. The offer began on 10/1/11 and runs through 2/29/2012, so there's plenty of time to get that flu shot if your doctor recommends getting one to you. Be sure to Like Lysol on Facebook to keep in the know about product offers.
- Make sure you use a sanitizing wipe to decontaminate shopping carts. Sick people shop and you don't want to be touching their germs if you can avoid it.
- Continue to encourage hand washing to keep your hands and your family's hands as clean as possible. If you're out shopping and stop at a restaurant to eat, don't forget to send the posse into the bathroom to wash their hands before eating.
- Need routine medical care? Don't forget that a doctor's office has sick patients in there too. Sick people touch everything, including door handles. Skip the magazines (bring your own) and don't allow your children to play with the toys there (again, bring your own) because they are likely covered with germs. Make sure you sanitize after leaving and if the door will open with a back-side shove, open it that way so you don't have to touch the door handle.
- Isolate any sick family member as much as possible. This was a key step we used when I caught the flu. We also kept a can of Lysol around to spray on hard surfaces and wiped down remotes with a sanitizing wipe to avoid passing germs.
- Do you have an ultraviolet toothbrush sanitzer? We do and use it religiously every day. My husband gets up long before me, so after he brushes, he hits the button to sanitize. After I brush, I hit the sanitize button too. Don't keep toothbrushes hanging out together and consider investing in an ultraviolet sanitizer to keep your toothbrush as germ-free as it can be.
- Teach your kids to sneeze into their elbow. This is something even young children can learn and it is definitely worth teaching.
- If someone in my family comes down with a cold, the rest of us try to get more vitamin C into our diets. That generally means more orange juice. It also means we start taking vitamins if we've slacked off on taking them every day. A strong, well-nourished body can fight off infection better.
- Avoid shaking hands who are sniffling or obviously have a cold and don't be shy about waving off a handshake if you are sick yourself. Germs love it when we do the hard work for them and hand contact is a good way to spread germs. My husband caught a cold over the weekend and politely refused a handshake from the priest on the way out of church. I am sure Father appreciated the gesture of kindness.
- Watch your kids when they're in the store, especially toddlers and pre-schoolers. When my son was younger, he was too short to peer over the check out counter. He was forever putting his mouth all over it. If you have a fabric cover for a grocery cart, be sure to use it and wash it often to cut down on germs entering your home.
- Send Lysol wipes to your child's school. These were on our son's back-to-school list and I know that teachers do what they can to keep children healthy so that they can come to school to learn versus being out of school home sick. Purchase a canister to send with your child to school so that the teachers will have them on hand in a germ emergency.
Keeping your family well is every mom's goal, not only from a health standpoint, but from a financial one too. Sick days mean lost work time and/or lost school time. Taking the initiative in keeping germs at bay can really pay off in more ways than one. Do you have any tips for keeping your family cold and flu free? I'd love to hear them. Please share by leaving a comment below.
Oh and one last thing: Be sure to visit Lysol on Facebook and enter their Wipes Challenge. 50 winners per day will win Lysol's 35 count Dual Action wipes. There will also be two (2) grand prize winners who will receive $1,000 each.
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.