The temperature outside is dropping, which means we are spending more time inside. Flu is an airborne illness – it travels through the air we breathe. More time inside means, more time are hanging out with each other in enclosed spaces. We are simply more likely to come into contact with cold and flu viruses. This is the time of year when our kids become little incubators and spreaders of germs…ugh. So, other than pulling our children from school, how can our entire family stay healthy this cold and flu season? Well, over the years I’ve learned a few things….here are our best natural ways to stay healthy this cold and flu season.
Natural Ways to Stay Healthy this Cold and Flu Season
Hand Washing – Our hands transfer germs from one surface to another…spreading cold and flu from school to car to home to dance studio and on and on. Rub your hand on your eye or eat with an unwashed hand and in a few days a cold will strike. I know that it can be challenging to get kids to wash their hands (I have a reluctant hand washer). Make hand washing fun; use silly shaped soaps, if pump soaps are exciting then use them, kids also like foaming soaps. There is no need for antibacterial soaps, regular soap can do a great job, as long as hands are being washed often.
Keep Commonly Touched Surfaces Clean – Grab your favourite multi-surface cleaner (we use either vinegar and water or hydrogen peroxide and water in a spray bottle) and clean the most commonly touched surfaces in your home. Run a cloth over handrails, door knobs, the television remote, the handle of the fridge, kitchen cabinet knobs, light switches, etc. We try and do this every couple of days during cold and flu season.
Cell Phones and Computers – Every day we pick up, put down, type on and place near our faces our electronic devices. But, how often to we really clean them? Alcohol wipes clean cell phones and can be kept in your handbag. Keep those devices clean.
Give the Toys a Bath – We all can agree that kids love to put things in their mouths. Pick a toy up, give it a hug, play with it, taste it, nap with it – toys have seen it all. To avoid spreading colds from one child to another, it’s a good idea to give the toys a bath. Toys can be washed in the upper rack of the dishwasher, soft toys can take a spin through the washing machine. Get the kids involved too. Fill the kitchen sink with soapy water and take the cars through the “car wash” and the dolls can have a special bath too.
Increase Vitamin D – In Canada, during the winter months it is difficult to get enough Vitamin D from the sun. The reality is that the sun isn’t as strong in the fall and winter. So, how can we get more Vitamin D? To start with, spend more time outdoors in the winter…get outside. Eat fortified foods like cheese and dairy products. In addition, it might be wise to take a supplement during these darker months. Check with your health practitioner to find out what amount of Vitamin D is right for you.
Learn to Love Lemons – One large lemon contains 45mg of Vitamin C…that’s 75% of your daily required amount of Vitamin C. Lemons are an awesome immunity boosting fruit. Add lemons to the food your eat…the zest and juice can be added to salads, rice dishes, pasta, really most dishes benefit from a squeeze of lemon. At the first sign of a cold I mix up a hot cup of water with lemon juice and honey…this drink works immediately to boost your immunity and help fight off a cold…amazing.
Get Rest – A tired body is simply more susceptable to illness. This goes for adults and children. Did you know that children aged 3-11 years of age need 10-12 hours of sleep a day?! We live in a fast paced, technology filled world. Sleep is so important to our mental and physical health. During the cold and flu season it is even more important to create a successful bedtime routine and get enough sleep to stay strong.
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Check out our ongoing Family Eco-Challenge.