Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Tips For Staying Healthy During Cold & Flu Season

I love that my husband is a teacher. But it never fails that, at the beginning of each school year (and during cold & flu season), he brings some sort of cold home to us. It's inevitable. Sometimes he gets sick too, but usually he is just the carrier for one of us to get sick. He is not to blame. It happened when I was a teacher too. And it happens to most of my friends who are teachers. Colds are an occupational hazard.

I've got some ideas for ways we can minimize our exposure to those cold germs and thought it would be appropriate to share them with you as we enter into another cold & flu season.

First, I've taught (or am still teaching) both of my girls to sneeze or cough into their elbows(edited to add that I now know this is called the "Dracula"). It really does lessen the chance of spreading germs, especially considering they no longer have "sneeze" on their hands waiting to be shared with the nearest toy or family member. I even had to retrain myself to do this because I had bad habits in this regard as well.

Next, I'm a fan of hand sanitizer. I don't go crazy with it because I believe some exposure to germs is healthy in a long-term, build up your immune system sort of way. However, I keep it handy and we use it a couple of times a day when hand washing just isn't possible. (You know, when the public restroom is out of soap and towels, a major pet peeve of mine!)

Third, as you might have guessed, I do let my kids have some exposure to germs. I didn't let them eat off restaurant floors when they were little, but at home, yes, my kids will eat Cheerios off the floor. I'm too frugal to waste an entire bowl over a few measly germs. Besides, I give them vitamins and we drink lots of fresh juice as well to give them an extra boost.

And finally, I know some families are very vigilant about flu shots. We are not. My husband does get one as a precaution against his occupational hazard. But the rest of us, who spend quite a bit of time at home, pass on them. This is a decision that each family ought to make for itself based on it's circumstances. But just note, I think every family ought to use the elbow  "Dracula" technique.

Those are just a handful of the things our family does to keep colds at a distance. What about you? How do you help your family stay healthy as the weather turns colder and the germs nastier?

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


  1. We do the "dracula cough" as well, which the children learned as toddlers. We drink Emergen-C during flu months, and take vitamins. I used to be very against flu shots until the whole family (minus the nursling) got the flu, and I ended up with double pneumonia. Now we get the shot because 2 of us have asthma and the others want to be safe for us. We are handwashers, and might be slightly OCD on the sanitizer. And we eat a diet of healthy whole foods.

  2. Ha...we do the Dracula too...all but my husband, he just lets it all out all "elephant like" (ew)

    We take some precautionary measures against seasonal allergies that have a way of creeping into stuck crud by incorporating a spoonful of raw, local honey in our daily diets and we've all but cut out processed foods sticking mainly to produce and meats/proteins for our meals. We've nixed dairy and have incorporated nut and seed milks instead and notice GREAT results with those in the family who used to suffer from chronic stuffiness or post nasal drip AND for those times when the crud just gets us...
    I keep a supply of Usnea on hand at all times.
    In Florida, it's easy to find as it is a lichen that literally grows on trees. I steep mine in aloe vera juice or organic alcohol for 6 weeks to make a tincture that works wonders. At the first sign of a scratch throat, a dropperful in a small glass of water once or twice a day and the crud stays away!

  3. Thanks for the tips for minimizing exposure to cold germs. It is always a nice reminder to have before the cold and flu season starts.


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