5 Ways to Stay Healthy During Cold and Flu Season

Cold and flu season… that time of year dreaded by parents and teachers everywhere.

This year is no different in our house, except that there are more of us in school, at work, and going to all of the places that other people go too. Cold and flu season gives me anxiety. So. Many. Germs.

The truth is, I live in a madhouse created by the reality of a close-knit family. We have seven children on an almost daily basis ranging from nearly 3-months-old to nearly 13-years-old. Most of them are in one school, but the adults also bring in even more opportunities for infection. So, with all of my own experience, I want to share with you my personal methods for preparing for the cold and flu season.

Make a plan with your doctor

This may not always be necessary. This year, my sister’s new baby is going to be around so we asked our pediatrician, during a routine visit, what we could do to help stay healthy. The most important recommendation was to get the flu shot, try to avoid contact if anyone gets sick, and to take hand-washing seriously.

hand washingGet enough sleep

Sleep isn’t just to prevent grumpy kids! Most people need at least seven hours of sleep a night {sorry new mommies, this is a tough one!}. Keep in mind that your littles most likely need more than that. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, infants need 12-14 hours of sleep per 24 hours and teenagers 13-18 years old need 8-10 hours of sleep per 24 hours. 

Eat healthier, don’t forget the fruit and vegetables

Okay, I’m am admittedly horrible at this one. Ask me what any of the kids have had to eat today and I can tell you what and if they ate. Ask me what I ate today and I will probably have no idea {I probably didn’t} or I will only remember my cold coffee. To help stay healthy, we should all be striving to eat at least three times a day. For me, I find it easier to keep small healthy snacks handy and aim for a healthy calorie goal overall, but do what works best for you.

Hydrate

Staying hydrated can be a difficult thing. I try to make it fun with frozen fruit. This is also helpful in reminding me to drink something healthy or avoid too much coffee. During the cold months, I also offer the kids herbal teas sweetened with a little honey. This is definitely one of my son’s favorite ways to stay hydrated.

herbal teaWash Everything!

Okay, that is a bit of an exaggeration, but be extra mindful of keeping things clean. As mentioned, frequent hand-washing is a must during the cold and flu season. It is also one of the most effective ways to prevent the spread of colds and the flu. I also like to remind parents of preschoolers to wash their blankets when they come home. Don’t forget to wash the winter jackets too!

Even planning ahead can’t prevent everything. So if you or your littles {or even the other adults in your home} get sick this season these tips are still valid. Just remember to take care of yourself along with your family. Stay hydrated, get lots of rest, and seek more care from a doctor as needed. Trust your instincts if it doesn’t go away or comes with a lingering fever.

What do you do to prevent the cold and flu?

This article is written by a mom who hopes her own experiences will help others. It is not meant to take the place of a health care professional. Please seek medical care of your choice if you are experiencing cold or flu symptoms.

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