Every time I see one of those medical alert emails, my heart sinks just a little bit. I warily read, scared of what illness might invade our family next. We don’t end up catching them all, of course, but just knowing that we’ve circled strep throat or hand foot and mouth disease, not to mention the flu and a hundred common colds… well it all makes me want to secure us in a bubble until spring blooms again.
With no such bubble available, I’m looking for other ways to protect my family during this season of illnesses. The good news is that most of the best ways to prevent the spread of illness are common sense things that we do naturally as part of our daily routines. The bad news is that these are also some of the things that we forget or forgo when times get busy, as days during these holiday months tend to do.
So, here’s a quick refresher of some of the best ways to make sure that the next medical alert does not affect your family!
1. Wash your hands
We all know how important hand washing is and know it as the top way to stop the spread of disease. And our Brooksfield kids are old enough now to be trusted to do it on their own (they do it at school all day long). But do you ask them if they’ve done it? Ever stand next to them to make sure they pick up the soap and give each finger a little scrub? Flu season is a great time to do a little hand washing spot check on your little ones.
2. Cover up
Your mouth and nose, that is. The healthy habit of grabbing a tissue or sneezing or coughing into our elbows gets lost over the generally healthy summer months. As noses start running, remind your kids where the tissue box is and help them get, and dispose, of, one when they need it.
3. Rest, exercise, water
You’ve got a Thanksgiving meal to prep, holiday gifts to buy, parties and events to attend and before you know it, you’ve skipped lunch for the fifth straight day and barely closed your eyes for more than a few hours each night. And your immune system will take the hit. Take a break, slow it down, and get the rest, exercise, and healthy foods and drinks your body needs to ward off infection.
4. Hands off your face
Your hands are like a vehicle for germs. And when you touch your nose, mouth, or eyes, you’re essentially delivering germs right into your body. Try to avoid putting your hands near your face and help keep the germs away.
5. Stay home
It’s the end of the year and sick days might be running low, but now is the time to take them. Taking a day to lie in bed might feel like the most unproductive thing you could do this week. But that day of rest might just speed your recovery and keep you from infecting those around you.
Want to learn more about the flu and what you can do to prevent illness? Check out the CDC’s flu page or Flu.gov for more information. And stay healthy!
(Photo courtesy of Flickr)