Keep Your Family Flu-Free

While we relish the cooler temps coming with the change in the seasons, one annual fall/winter arrival is not so welcome: the flu. Most doctors will tell you the flu shot is the surest way to prevent contracting one of the many virus strains we simply call “flu.” But whether you choose to get yourself and your children vaccinated or not, there are several other simple ways to lessen your chances of staying home with a sick kid (or being forced to bed yourself):

Be Defensive. Keep your kid’s immune system in fighting shape by reducing their sugar intake, making sure they get enough Vitamin D (either from protected sun exposure, milk or other sources like eggs, cheese or salmon) and ensuring they get enough sleep. Too much stress can affect the immune system too, weakening it significantly, which is just one more good reason to teach your kids effective coping strategies.Lean-FluFree-box3-

Be Clean. Getting your kids in the habit of routinely washing their hands will help kill germs (and not just those that cause the flu) before they can do their damage. But a quick rinse won’t do it. Make sure you and your kids rub your hands vigorously with soap for at least 20 seconds before rinsing.

Be Vigilant. Remember to wipe down frequently touched surfaces several times a day. Places like doorknobs, light switches and the kids’ toys are hotbeds of invisible ick.

Be Stingy. If you and your husband sometimes share bites of food or a cup with each other or your kids, stop. And if you have more than one baby in the house, get each their own pacifier in a different color to prevent inadvertent “sharing.” It’s not just saliva you’re swapping; you could be spreading the flu too.

Be Discreet. Forget just covering your mouth and nose with your hand when you cough or sneeze. Go ahead and put your entire face into the crook of your elbow, so your sleeve collects the majority of anything you’re blowing out. Show your kids how to do the same, and enforce it so it becomes second nature.

Be Kind. Sometimes, your kid is just destined to get sick, and all the prevention methods and healthy habits in the world can’t stop it. If the flu does hit your house, do everyone else a big favor, and keep sick kids home!