As fall approaches we head into shorter days, cooler nights and of course flu season. There are simple steps you can take to help protect yourself and your family.
Preventative measures. One of the best things you can do is get a flu shot. Last year only 43 percent of Americans received a flu shot. The flu can be life threatening for children and the elderly. Immunizing can help protect others and ourselves. Keep in mind it takes two weeks for the flu shot to take full effect. If regular hours at your doctor’s office conflict with your schedule look for flu shot clinics in your area. A number of pharmacy chains such as Target, Walgreens and CVS have vaccines available.
Make a habit of hand washing. You won’t always find yourself near a sink when you need one, so keep hand sanitizer in convenient locations. My family keeps a pump top bottle in each vehicle. The eight ounce size fit easily in the side pockets of vehicle doors. I also keep one in my purse so after I have pumped gas or handled cash I am not taking away extra germs. Other places you will find this useful: • when there are no cart wipes left at the grocery store • before eating out with your hands (pizza, burgers, nachos, hot dogs) • when you find yourself in a bathroom that lacks soap or paper towels
Get your rest. A good nights sleep can recharge your body and help your immune system. Back to school time is a busy time, but letting your body become run down can make you more susceptible to colds and flu. If you are having trouble staying organized check out. ListPlanIt.com’s Time Management section for helpful tools to organize a day or a whole year.
Take a cue from apple season. Crisp apples, fresh potatoes, winter squashes and kale are brimming with vitamins, fiber and cancer fighting compounds. Make your next salad with one cup of chopped kale and for 33 calories you will get 134 percent of your vitamin C for the day. Remember you would not wash your hands with just water, so don’t do it to your vegetables. Keep two spray bottles at your sink, one filled with white vinegar, the other with hydrogen peroxide. Spray your produce down with each before rinsing with water to kill e. coli and salmonella. This method is a huge money saver and a great way to protect your family.
Be prepared. Keep items on hand incase someone catches a cold. At our house we always have tissues, ginger ale, Tylenol and Canada mints. Your list might include chicken soup, tea and honey.
Make a habit of cleaning frequently used surfaces in your home. This is especially important after someone has been sick. • telephones • computer keyboard and mouse • light switches • doorknobs • microwave and oven buttons • remotes • and don’t forget a new toothbrush or a good soak in hydrogen peroxide for the old one.