The holiday season is upon us, and isn’t that when illness always seems to strike?
Few things are germier than a school where lots of kids and adults are stuck in small rooms, touching the same objects and breathing the same air.
Kids bring those germs home on their hands and touch everything there, too. Then parents get sick and spread the virus to co-workers. And so on, and so on…
Colds and flu are miserable for children and parents alike, and missing work—whether a parent gets sick or has to stay home to care for a sick child—is a financial or logistical nightmare for many families.
It’s impossible to avoid every cold and flu bug, but there are some things you can do to help reduce your risk.
The best way to prevent getting the flu this year is to get a flu shot. Flu season can run into early spring, so it’s not too late if you haven’t been vaccinated yet. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommend a flu shot for everyone over the age of 6 months.
The second best way to prevent colds and flu is to wash your hands frequently, either with soap and water or a hand sanitizer. Get your kids into the habit of using hand sanitizer and put it in their backpacks. I always stash some in my purse and my car, and I keep a dispenser at my desk.
And avoid touching your face with your hands. Pay attention and you’ll be surprised how often you do this without knowing it!
A neti pot is a simple and inexpensive tool for washing out the inside of your nose. It sounds crazy, but it’s really easy and actually feels good! And used regularly, it can keep those nasty cold germs away (and allergies, too).
Skip the supplements
Save your money. Don’t bother with expensive supplements.
Supplements such as Airborne and Emergen-C can only claim to “boost” your immune system, because there is no evidence that huge doses (1000 mg or more) of vitamin C prevent colds. And scientists have been studying vitamin C’s benefits for more than 60 years!
Zinc, found in Zicam or Cold-Eeze lozenges, isn’t meant to prevent a cold, but rather treat it by lessening the symptoms and shortening the duration. It does. Kind of. By half a day.
Moderate exercising, a healthy diet and getting enough sleep are the best ways to keep your immune system functioning its best to both prevent colds or recover more quickly.