The onset of cooler weather usually means that cold and flu season has arrived.
Even though it is possible to contract the flu at any time during the year, colds and flu are much more prevalent during the fall and winter months, mainly because we tend to spend more of our time indoors and as a result are generally more prone to catching viruses. That is not to say that everyone will get sick, as there are many tips and tricks to help prevent getting stuck with a lousy cold. Today’s Parent surveyed experts on the top tips for fighting colds, below are 3 ways to help keep you and your family healthy all year long.
As advice goes, “wash your hands often” may sound as dull as dishwater, but it’s the first, and often best, line of defense against flu viruses, which can live on our skin for hours. “It’s the hand-to-hand and hand-to-nose touching that brings the virus in contact with the mucous membranes, from where it infects the rest of the body,” says Joanne Embree, a consulting pediatrician and chair of the Canadian Pediatric Society’s infectious diseases and immunization committee. Make hand washing fun for kids by singing as you scrub, and use the “10 seconds and flip” rule, so both sides of the hands get washed.
2. Give Coughs the Cold Shoulder
How likely is it your child will remember to cover her mouth every time she coughs? It’s even worse if she does remember, but then forgets to wash her virus-laden hands afterwards. Embree advises simplifying things with a one-step rule: “Have children cough to the side of or into their shoulders,” she says. “It’ll cut down on transmission.”
3. Don’t be a Clean Freak
Cleaning zealously won’t protect your family from viruses—and it may even do more harm than good. Children’s immature immune systems need exposure to a little dirt now and then to make them strong and help them develop antibodies against common bugs. “You don’t want to sterilize everything in the house,” says Earl Brown, a University of Ottawa professor of virology. “You kill one organism and you risk attracting another that’s resistant.”
For the complete list on ways to help prevent and deal with colds and the flu, check out the full article by Today’s Parent