Top 5 Ways to Protect Your Family During Cold & Flu Season

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High-Five, Mama! You’ve made it halfway through another cold-flu season! If you are anything like me you dread the cold-flu season months. As a pediatric ICU nurse and a mama to two young girls, my guard is always up this time of year! I’m always on the search for different ways to protect my family and ways to keep the icky germs out of our house.

Top 5 ways to keep flu germs away:

1. Always keep the hand sanitizer near.

You can never have enough. I’m always stocking up when Bath & Body Works has their sales or The Honest Company. They don’t dry my hands out as much and my girls love their smells (makes them eager to want to use it and less fits- WIN, WIN!). Germs are spread easily from hand to hand, especially in our toddler and preschool population. Keeping those hands clean before exiting/entering the car, before eating, after grocery shopping, eating out, etc. We probably have hand sanitizer in every cup holder, purse pocket, and shelf in our home. No shame in our hand sanitizer game!! *always remember, soap and water is always preferred*

2. Wash coats and cold weather gear.

Many times our kids will come home from school and their coats don’t have any visible dirt. But I can assure you that those coats, hats, and mittens are full of germs. Each weekend those items need to visit the wash or at least every other weekend. The cold weather gear gets thrown on the floor, sneezed/coughed on, and touches all of the things! Just because they don’t have visible dirt, doesn’t mean they don’t need washed. Wash the stuff!

3. Use the elderberry.

I’m an elderberry lover. There have been multiple studies done that show the multiple benefits of Elderberry. My family and I have used Elderberry for the last two years and have *knock on wood* had no missed school days or sick doctors visits during the school year. Elderberry is packed with Vitamin C, high in dietary fiber, a great source of phenolic acids (powerful antioxidants), and are rich in anthocyanins (a strong antioxidant with anti-inflammatory effects). Not only has Elderberry shown to help increase your immune system, but studies show that Elderberry can also help decrease the signs and symptoms if you were to get influenza or a cold. My family takes a cap full a day, to keep the doctor away (please consult your doctor if you are interested to know if Elderberry is right for your family).

4. Maintain a healthy lifestyle.

I know first hand how hard it is to keep up with the balanced meals, water intake, and staying active during the winter months. Our bodies crave activity, balanced meals, and water. An adequate amount of water helps flush out those toxins and helps our cells get all the oxygen that they need to function. Keeping your body active can help flush out the bacteria and keep those white blood cells active. Did you know that a brief rise in our core body temp can help kill and prevent bacteria from growing?! Get those kids nice and sweaty…even if it’s just a homemade obstacles course or a few jumping jacks before dinner.

5. Stay home.

Germs are easily spread from kid to kid and adult to adult. The best way to prevent any illness from spreading or reaching others is to stay home (and get a flu shot, but I’ll save that topic for another day) if you have any of the following:

• Temp of 99.6 with any other sign or symptom, such as: diarrhea, nausea, or sore throat. Must be sign and symptom free and fever free for 24 hours without a fever reducing medication.
• Temp of 100.0 with no other signs or symptoms. Must be fever free for 24 hours before returning to school or work without a fever reducing medication.
• Any kind of vomiting, diarrhea, sore throat, abdominal pain, pink eye, and persistent cough. STAY HOME!
• If you’re questioning it, it’s better to keep them home or to stay home from work yourself. You are not only doing yourself a favor, but also doing a favor to those around you!!

Now run and grab your hand sanitizer and elderberry and give yourself a little extra grace during this cold and flu season! Sending all the cold and flu fighting vibes your way!

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