It’s that time of year again – cold and flu season. For the past two weeks, yes TWO WEEKS folks, I’ve been battling with the flu. I’ve had bronchitis and walking pneumonia before, but I had no idea what I was in store for with my first-ever battle with influenza. It even involved a trip to the ER for fever, dehydration & severe back spasms. While I got some good pain-killers for the spasms, sadly the doctor told me there wasn’t much he could give me to cure my ills. He advised me to hunker down, stay hydrated, sleep and stay away from others, especially my kidlets as much as possible.
I know what your first question is, “did you get a flu shot?” No, I did not (you’ll see why below) – and is the reason I got an all-out, full-blown case of the flu, rather than the typical milder version of it.
Various media have reported that this flu season could be the worst in nearly a decade. Five children have died from the flu so far this year and after my bout, I certainly now know why.
Here are some tips to keep in mind this cold and flu season:
Tip #1 – WASH YOUR HANDS, OFTEN
Wash them before you eat, after using the restroom and being anywhere outside. It may sound silly that I’d even have to say this, but use soap and warm water. If I left it up to my own kidlets, they would go sans soap and cold water if I didn’t remind them. To make sure that they lather up enough and rinse off correctly, I make them sing the alphabet – which lasts about 20 seconds, to ensure a good cleaning. Also, dry hands with a clean towel or air dryer – make sure you’ve washed and dried all those germs away!
Tip #2 – GET IMMUNIZED, EARLY!
I sure did learn my lesson this year. You need to get a flu shot when you are healthy. I didn’t even start thinking about my flu shot until early November. I did try to get my flu shot three different times, but by then cold season had set in. Kidlets bringing germs home and I apparently took them all in. I was rejected by the doctor/pharmacist each time I went. The first time I had the sniffles, the second time I had swollen glands and the last try, I had a slight temp. I will be knocking on my doctor/pharmacist door in September next year, as soon as it becomes available. And in speaking to my doctor, it’s still not too late to get a flu shot now – to have some coverage from the flu, which is better than none!
Tip #3 – COUGH OR SNEEZE INTO YOUR ELBOW OR USE A TISSUE
According to Kleenex, one sneeze can spray up to 3,000 infectious droplets into the air at more than 100 MPH! So if you don’t have a tissue handy, you should use the inner-part of your sleeve at the elbow. This helps to cut the fast spread of germs.
Tip #4 – THROW AWAY USED TISSUES
I’ve been guilty of this myself. If I’m settled in all comfy and cozy watching TV, I don’t always immediately get up to throw away my snot rags. Why risk one of the kidlets or The Hubs picking it up and exposing them to my illness? Even worse, sometimes the dog takes them and shreds them…ick, what a mess. New rule in our house, you throw your own tissues out right after you use them.
Tip #5 – DISINFECT SURFACES
Disinfect any surfaces you come in contact with at both home and at work with appropriate germ killing agents. You could use simple old diluted bleach can kill most germs, but be careful because it is very irritating to the eyes, skin and respiratory tract. I keep a tube of those disinfecting wipes that you can buy at any grocery story handy. At work, I wipe down my phone after each use, my keyboard and mouse daily and even the handles on my drawers & cabinets. At home, I wipe down the bathroom sink, kitchen sink and any hard surface I may encounter.
Tip #5 – COUNT SHEEP, LOTS OF THEM
When you’re sick, make sure you get enough sleep. My kidlets are three & five, they need about 11 to 13 hours of sleep every night. Adults should get no less than eight hours per night. I know that with hectic schedules, especially during the holiday season can be hard, but getting enough sleep/rest helps to empower your immune system, so you are not rundown.
Tip #7 – STAY HYDRATED
Drink plenty of fluids, preferably water, but tea, juice or even a sports drink with electrolytes is okay. Medical studies have proven that this is a way to strengthen your immune system and helps you “flush” your body clean of whatever germ is invading your body.
Tip #8 – MAKE SURE YOU EAT
Proper nutrition can help you fight against the cold and flu virus. Good food provides you with the energy you need to power you through the day. Eating three balanced meals a day keeps you alert and helps you concentrate on what tasks you have at hand.
Tip #9 – STAY HOME IF SICK
This always drives me crazy, people who send their kids to school or people who come into work who are clearly sick. It’s not fair to all the other kids/people who are not sick – being exposed to and spreading the cold or flu bug they have. The moment I start feeling sick (now I mean feeling really sick, not just the sniffles – but fever and lots of congestion), I stay home. If you have a fever, stay home until it’s been gone for at least 24 hours. I don’t need to prove to anyone how tough of a mom I am, I have no problem taking a sick day when I’m under the weather. Work, laundry and homework will all still be there waiting for me when I get better. I’m not doing myself, my co-workers or my kids any favors by going anywhere feeling ill and infecting others.
Now it’s your turn to share. What’s your #1 or go to home remedy for the cold or flu?
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