Every year it happens. Word starts spreading about the germs going around. Kids diagnosed with the flu. Stomach bugs spreading like wildfire. The coughs ringing through the halls at school.
Over the years, I have amassed an arsenal of tricks and tools to help me wage battle in my household. We still get sick once in awhile, but I have noticed a definite decrease in quantity and severity by doing certain things. Here are five things that have helped my family in our fight to stay healthy during cold and flu season:
Wash Those Hands
Harping about hand washing is every mom’s winter script. It goes without saying that washing hands often helps keep the germs at bay. My kids would probably say that these are the most uttered words in our house. Just got home from school? Wash hands. Want to eat a snack? Wash hands. Used the port-a-potty at soccer? Use half of the hand sanitizer in mom’s purse.
One troublesome area was school lunchtime, where my kids were going straight from recess into the lunchroom and weren’t using the hand sanitizer station. Last year, I bought them cute little hand sanitizers in their choice of scent and attached them to their lunchbox. This year we have upped our game with individually wrapped wet wipes. Now they tell me when I forget to put one in their lunch and I love that the germs are getting wiped off, not just sanitized.
Get Your Vitamins
My kids take a multivitamin. It’s part of our daily routine and an extra assurance for the days that our food choices may not be the best.
During winter, I add a couple of things to help us stay healthy. We will start taking a Vitamin D supplement and I feel like it has helped bump up our immune system. When people in our circle are actively sick, I also give everyone an immunity gummy with elderberry syrup and echinacea. Just a little extra boost when our chances of getting sick are increased.
Sometimes We Say No
Last year our school’s family dance fell during a particularly bad stretch of yucky germs going around. Kids missing school left and right. Kids with lingering coughs. The last thing I wanted to do was pack into the gym with hundreds of our closest friends. So we skipped it. My kids had some disappointment when they found out we weren’t going, but we did a nice movie night at home instead. We stayed healthy and no one’s disappointment lasted for long.
Saying no is hard sometimes, but I have no regrets about missing the dance or the occasional birthday party. Not only do we avoid the extra germs at the event, but we are also giving our bodies extra time to rest and heal. Getting enough sleep and rest is key to staying healthy!
My family eats a lot of soup. It is my favorite thing to cook, and so comforting when it is cold outside. Aside from being delicious, soup serves a purpose in my battle against the germs. Broth based soups are full of vitamins and minerals. Soup is an easy way to get kids to eat more vegetables. When my kids were in pickier phases, I would sometimes puree veggies into the broth and they would go undetected.
I also love to add some healthy herbs to soups when I can. Chicken soup lends itself to many additions. I often add lemon and ginger slices to soup as it cooks and then remove before serving. Thyme, oregano, parsley and cilantro all add a healthy boost to your soup. I sometimes also add turmeric to my soup. Chicken and rice takes on a golden hue and a warm flavor with a few shakes.
Open a Window
It is hard to open windows during the winter, but whenever it is possible, I do. When we have a few “warm” sunny days, I will open them for a short burst to get some fresh air into the house. The best time for me to do this is when I find myself home alone for a morning. I will open the windows for half an hour and then close them up and the house has time to warm back up before everyone is home from school.
I try to do other things to improve air quality in the house. We make sure to change the filters on the furnace regularly. I also have been trying to increase the number of houseplants we have. I don’t have the best record on keeping them alive, but I keep trying.
Stay healthy this year mamas!