This post is brought to you by Vicks Humidifiers. All opinions are our own.
Can you believe that it’s the start of another cold and flu season? It feels like just yesterday we were heading back to school, and here we are prepping for winter! Last year, my family got hit with one cold after another. It was rough, and relatively rare! I’m usually very good at keeping bugs at bay! This year, I’m ramping up my efforts even more to make sure we don’t go through that again. Want to hear my favorite tips for keeping your whole family healthy during cold and flu season? Of course you do! That’s why you’re here, right? Let’s check them out!
Keeping Your Family Healthy During Cold and Flu Season
Wash your hands the right way
I think by now you know that washing your hands is one of the most important ways to keep your family healthy during cold and flu season. I do want to point out one important thing regarding washing your hands. While you may know that you should wash for at least the length of the “Happy Birthday” song twice, did you also know that HOW you wash and dry matters?
When I was a nursing student, we learned that friction is the key element. Rub those hands together, and when you’re done, dry them with a towel. If you’re in a public restroom that uses one of those air dryers, rub your hands vigorously beneath them, otherwise they do little more than turn your hands into a nice, warm breeding ground for bacteria. Practice good handwashing skills yourself and make sure your kids know how to do it right!
Don’t give germs a free ride to your face
If you’re anything like me, your hands spend way too much time near your face. I’m a nail biter. I know, shameful habit. I go so far as to save thousands of glorious pictures of nail art in the hopes that they will inspire me to quit. Even if you’re not a nail biter, many of us tend to rest our chins on our hands when we’re thinking or mindlessly touch our faces throughout the day.
It’s hard, especially when most of the time you’re doing it subconsciously, but try to keep your hands away from your face (and your nails out of your mouth!). Think about it: those hands come into contact with so many germs throughout the day, and you’re giving them a free ride right to your mouth! It’s easier for you to help stop these habits in your family. If you notice your kids leaning their sweet little faces on their hands or biting their nails, give them a gentle reminder to stop.
Sleep is a valuable commodity for us parents, but it’s an important part of staying healthy during cold and flu season. Lack of sleep isn’t just damaging to your immune system, it can also lead to poor choices. Like letting strangers sneeze on you in subways. Okay, so maybe not that poor, but it does impair your judgment. You’re just less likely to make healthy choices when you’re exhausted.
During the dry winter months, consider sleeping with a humidifier in your room to help keep the air (and your nasal passages) moist. I have a humidifier that I’ve been using for years. As soon as the weather turns cold, I pull it out and set it up. I also have one in my son’s room, although I’m thinking about swapping it out for the Vicks Starry Night Cool Mist Humidifier because it looks really neat. It projects stars on the ceiling, making it like a nightlight too!
Find your inner peace
Like lack of sleep, stress can also wreak havoc on your immune system. Just like it’s easier said than done to always get a good night sleep, sometimes it’s easier to say “don’t worry, be happy!” than to actually do it. We all stress out about things. It’s a natural part of life, and some stress is important. It keeps us on our toes. But it’s just as important-if not more so- to find time to unwind and just be at peace.
It’s also important to help your kids find their bliss. For our older kids in middle school through college, winter means mid-term exams. Juniors and seniors may also be taking SATs for the first time. Kids of all ages are starting to feel the stress of the school year around November. They’re getting antsy for winter break but at the same time, expectations are higher because teachers are done reviewing the previous year’s material and feel that kids should be adjusted to their new work load.
Turn on your Humidifier
You know that flu viruses thrive in overly moist areas, right? Did you also know that they absolutely love really dry areas, too? I actually just learned that myself. The key is to strike a balance in your home that adds moisture to the air without going overboard. Studies show that maintaining comfortable humidity levels can help reduce the survival of flu viruses on surfaces and in air.
Just take a moment to go through your home and identify any areas that are either too dry or too moist. You can use a Humidity Monitor to help you with that. While I find that I need a humidifier in most rooms during the winter, my basement runs a dehumidifier year round. I’m also looking into a filtered humidifier to put into rooms where I’m most concerned about too much humidity. I’m not saying you have to stick a humidifier in every room, but definitely consider it for the rooms that your family spends the most time.
If you’re looking for a great humidifier for your kids’ rooms, I highly recommend the Vicks Mini Filter Free Cool Mist Humidifier. My son’s room has a very limited amount of surface space, but the Vicks Mini fits perfectly on his dresser. Jacob loves it because I can add the Vicks VapoPads® to it and make his room smell great.
One more really neat thing that I want to mention before I send you on your cold & flu fighting way: if you do start to feel under the weather, the Vicks® SmartTemp Thermometer is such a neat way to check for a fever and track your family’s temperature changes. It connects to the SmartTemp app with just the click of a button and color-codes your entire family’s readings.
I’m really hoping that with my increased efforts, I can manage to keep my family healthy during cold and flu season this year and not have a repeat of last year! I am proud to say that I have finally managed to get a better handle on stress, although I have a long way to go with the nail biting. I’ll get there, though!