You are enjoying a peaceful evening with your family in your suburban home. You begin to notice your husband's constant sniffling, you hand him a tissue and quickly disregard it as "a bit of dust". Then your child starts coughing. "Are you okay, dear?" you inquire. "Fine, Mommy," is Timmy's reply, "Johnny bet me ten cents that I wouldn't lick the classroom doorknob - I showed him!" You are about to tell him he shouldn't be licking doorknobs when you feel a slight tickle in your throat and then you realize - you are being INVADED!!! dun.dun.dun
It's cold/flu season! There is just no way around it. Personally, I got over it just last week & while I kept my Kleenex stockpile up I wondered, "is there any way to escape this?" The short answer is: No, but there are ways to help you when you get invaded.
1. Stay home!! Sure, it's not fun to stay home from book club, but what is worse: missing one night of chit chat that you can barely hear from your headache, or being referred to as "the gal who kept sneezing on things"? Honestly, you got sick because someone couldn't keep their germs at home. Stop the cycle by keeping yours to yourself.
2. Pull out the soap. "Aim for at least four hand washings a day. Other than getting the vaccine, frequent hand washing is the most effective way to protect against the flu," says Thomas Saari, M.D. Hand sanitizer is great in a pinch when you are in a place without running water & soap, but if you have the choice and/or there is visible dirt, choose the soap and water.
3. Turn up the heat. Heat is a speedy way to kill germs. When someone in our family is sick I run our dishwasher on heat dry as an extra precaution to make sure our dishes are really clean. You can also run some children's toys on the top rack of the dishwasher, too. I am usually a cold water person when it comes to washing our clothes, but if we are sick I will run a few loads on hot water. Don't want to use that much hot water on your family laundry? Consider doing it with just a load of "infected" laundry. While we are on the subject of laundry, a friend of mine (a school teacher) always has her family change their clothes when they come home from school...if you think of it, that is a lot of germs you are putting in the laundry basket and away from the rest of the house.
4. Wipe it to swipe it. "Viruses can survive up to three days on surfaces and inanimate objects," says Chuck Gerba, a professor of environmental microbiology at the University of Arizona in Tucson. Focus on "Hot Spots" around the house that get touched/used a lot (doorknobs, switches, handles, phones, counters, remotes, etc.) with your favorite disinfecting product that contains alcohol.
5. Sharing is not caring. There is the popular adage "We are a family that shares everything...even our germs". Be sure that children don't share things like cups, utensils or anything they would put their mouth on. If the patient can have commonly shared items that they can claim as their own(cup, blanket, etc.) & can't be confused with others that can help cut down on the germ spreading quite a bit. One thing my Mom did was to color code our cups - mine was red and didn't get confused with my yucky brothers green cup. It also helps if the patient can have their own space to sleep (space permitting) especially if they share a room with other siblings. Giving them (or you) that space can help keep germs from spreading and give a quieter environment to re-coop in.
*6* Mother knows best. Hate to admit it, but the three sure things to help you get over that bug: lots of water, SLEEP & chicken noodle soup...my Mom told me that all the time, but for some reason it didn't really sink in until I got older.
Do you have any home remedies? Please share!
Hope you get feeling better soon!!