Cold and flu prevention (yes, even in spring!)

With thoughts of spring break, budding daffodils, and short sleeves, who wants to entertain the thought of a cold or flu? Those should be a distant memory. Besides, a spring cold, well, that is plain unjust. Not allowed. However, unfortunately it happens. And, they can be particularly brutal.  In fact, I am just coming off of a small bout of one myself. So allow me to share some prevention tips you could follow (and I should have done a little better job of doing myself apparently).

Those pesky virus germs that lurk about any time of year can survive up to three days on surfaces so bring on your best efforts to wipe them away.  Here's how:

Wash your hands.  You have heard that before -- thousands of times.  And, there is a reason for that.  It works.  But did you know there is a proper technique to getting the job done correctly?  According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) there is.  Do this:
  • With running water, wet your hands and apply soap.
  • Rub your hands together to make a lather and scrub them well.  Be sure to scrub the backs of your hands, in between your fingers and under your nails.
  • Continue this process for at least 20 seconds.
  • Rinse your hands well under running water.
  • Dry your hands using a clean towel or air dry.
And, here are some important times to practice that method:
  • first thing when coming inside (after running errands, carpooling, work, social engagements, etc.)
  • before, during and after preparing food
  • before meals
  • after using the bathroom or changing diapers
  • after time with your pet including feeding
  • after leaving doctors' offices
  • after touching or caring for someone ill
Other important tips regarding hand washing:
  • Ensure doctors and nurses have washed their hands before treating you or your family.
  • Keep 60 percent or higher alcohol-based hand sanitizer in your briefcase, purse, backpack and car for when you can't find running water and soap or when out and the public bathroom is not a good option.
  • Do not touch eyes, nose, and mouth after shaking hands as they are common germ entry points. Wash your hands as soon as possible.
Regularly disinfect.   Do this daily especially when someone is sick in your home.  Make sure to hit these surfaces where germs like to hide:
  • door handles everywhere (including doorknobs and kitchen cabinet and refrigerator handles)
  • light switches
  • countertops
  • phones
  • all remotes
  • computer keyboards
  • stair rails
  • toys
  • cell phones
Regularly wash all towels and sheets.  Make sure to use hot water and dry using the high-heat cycle.  This is especially important when someone is sick in your home.

Eat these.  Here are some items to keep in your diet to keep your immunity system strong:
  • raw garlic
  • organic plain yogurt
  • citrus of all kinds
  • tea, especially green, black and oolong
  • ginger 
  • vitamin A foods such as carrots, sweet potatoes, pumpkin and apricots
  • chili peppers to thin mucous membranes and reduce germs in the throat and sinus
  • onions
  • lots of water
And, do not forget two other healthy habits.

Get good quality sleep.

Get outdoors and move.  Step out into the fresh air and exercise regularly.

But, if all fails, and someone is starting to complain of a scratchy throat and achy all over - one room living is best.  Have the ailing one pick a room and stay put to discourage germs spreading to healthy ones in the family.

And, later this week, watch this site for some things to try if the bug moves in and takes hold.