But with all the various bugs that tend to be passed along during the fall and winter, there are things we as parents can do to help ensure that catching a cold or even worse, the flu, is a lot less likely for our families. These involve simple lifestyle changes and very little effort! A lot of these things can even be taught to the youngest of children. Here are some of the things I like to do to minimize our chances of getting the flu and those pesky colds that come with the seasonal change:
- Wash hands. Often. Teach kids to use soap and lather while humming "Happy Birthday". This ensures that they get all those nasty germs, leaving their hands clean! Always rinse with hot water, too!
- Use disinfecting wipes on household surfaces. I do this on doorknobs, counters, sinks, and even on the refrigerator handle. Anything that people come in regular contact with can be harboring viruses and bacteria!
- Teach kids to cough or sneeze into their elbow. MUCH better than covering their mouths and noses with their hands, since it decreases the chance for further contamination.
- Always wash toys with a mild bleach and water solution, or spray them with Lysol. Babies and toddlers LOVE putting things in their mouths, and this is often how they get sick!
- Flu shots. Enough said.
- I make sure my family gets enough Vitamin C. This is supposed to have good effects on one's immune system.
- Get enough rest! A good night's sleep helps the immune system stay strong and able to fight off nasty germs and viruses!
- Hand sanitizer, used sparingly and under CLOSE ADULT SUPERVISION is a great way to ward off germs. Seriously, though, do not hand a bottle of hand sanitizer to a child. It is highly toxic and can poison a child if they ingest it.
- Wipe down school books and spray backpacks with Lysol when kids arrive home from school. Have kids wash their hands when entering the home.
- Proper hygiene practices in general will help kids learn how to make sure they're clean and germ-free. A normal routine that includes handwashing, bathing, brushing and flossing will teach children to take pride in their appearance, which naturally leads to cleaner, healthier children.
***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.***