Break out the tissue boxes! Ready or not, cold and flu season is here! Since locking up inside for the winter is not an option, learn what you can do to prevent colds and flu while you travel about.
- Vaccinate! Most colds are not dangerous, but influenza, the virus that causes the flu, can be life threatening, causing high fevers, cough, and body aches. In some cases they can even cause significant breathing difficulties and require hospitalization, especially with young children and babies. Unlike the viruses that cause the common cold, influenza is preventable with the flu vaccine.
- Avoid the sickies! During the winter season, viruses are everywhere and frequently passed from person to person. If a grandparent has the sniffles, they shouldn't be giving kisses to their new grandchild. If your kiddo has a cough, they shouldn't have play dates with friends. Also avoid sharing cups, food, and utensils.
- Everyone wash your hands. Regular hand washing is a great way to keep germs at bay. Everyone should be washing for a good 20 seconds – try singing "Happy Birthday" twice.
- Hand sanitizers are for on the go. When there is not a spot to immediately wash, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer and wash with soap and water as soon as possible. Hand sanitizer should not replace proper hand washing. These are especially great while during travel.
- Stop the spread. Cover your nose and mouth when you sneeze! Learn proper nose and mouth coverage so everyone is not spreading germs to siblings, friends, and parents. Remember, sneezing and coughing into your hands is NOT the way to go. Learn and teach to use a tissue or handkerchief; and if you don’t have one, you should cough or sneeze into the upper sleeve or elbow.
- Separate the Sick One. Try to keep your sick family member as contained as possible. If possible, have them use a separate bathroom and keep them out of the kitchen so they aren't spreading germs where other family members are most likely to pick up them up.
- Get good sleep. Fatigue and stress can make colds worse.
- Good food and fluids. You should be eating healthy all year – and during cold and flu season, it’s especially crucial to eat a balanced diet packed with nutritious foods to help your body ward off viruses. Also, make sure your family is drinking plenty of fluids this winter.
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