November is the perfect time of year. The air is cool, the holidays are coming, you’ll soon be with friends and family…and everyone is getting sick. It’s just what happens in late fall. At least that’s what we’re led to believe. But could you and your family stay healthy during cold and flu season (not to mention COVID-19)?
One of the best ways to not get sick this year is, of course, to not be around others who are sick. But with work and school in full swing, in addition to holiday get-togethers, that can be a little challenging. Here are some of the next-best things you can do to stay healthy as we head into the holidays.
Wash Your Hands
You’ve heard it said again and again: Wash your hands. We touch a lot of things during the day, and kids definitely touch a lot of things that other kids have touched. Getting everyone in the habit of washing your hands for 20 seconds before and after meals, after blowing your nose, and before you touch your face will go a long way in helping to keep colds and flus at bay.
To help kids remember to wash up, make it fun for them. Try colored hand soap that they have to scrub off (or this Mickey Mouse soap dispenser, which is super cute), get them a stool to better reach the sink, and even give them stickers for remembering to wash before meals.
Use Hand Sanitizer
There are some times when washing your hands just isn’t feasible, namely when you’re out and about. Keep alcohol-based hand sanitizer in the car, diaper bag, and your purse to help your family stay healthy. For school-aged kids, put a small bottle of sanitizer in their backpack. You can also stash some antibacterial disinfectant wipes in the glove box of your car. That way, when you’re running from school to practice to home, everyone will have a way to get rid of dirt and grime on the go.
Don’t Touch Your Face (Unless You’re Covering a Sneeze or Cough)
Kids are notorious for touching their faces—a lot. Starting them early with a habit of not touching their faces can be hard, but gentle reminders are definitely helpful. Also, be sure that you’re aware of touching your own face, as you’re the best role model for good behavior.
Of course, you do want the kids (and grown-ups) to cover their mouths when they sneeze and cough. Keep tissues with you all the time so they can blow their nose or catch those coughs and sneezes. Then, make sure to wash hands after touching your face or blowing your nose. This is another instance where hand sanitizer is very helpful, since we’re not always near a water source after sneezing.
Keep It Clean: Disinfect High-touch Areas
High-touch areas can hold on to germs, and since everyone—healthy and sick alike—touches them, they should be cleaned regularly. These areas include, at a minimum, doorknobs, faucets, and toys. If your children use your mobile devices or hold on to your keys, add those to the mix as well.
Wiping down frequently touched items with soap and water at least once a week and spraying them with an antimicrobial disinfectant spray in between can help keep pesky germs to a minimum. You can skip the chemicals and use one of these natural disinfectants that you probably have in your house already. They’ll work just as well with no worry about harming kids and pets.
Update Your Vaccines
One of the very best ways to stay healthy during cold and flu season is by keeping your vaccinations up to date. These include the standard childhood vaccines, as well as an annual flu shot and the COVID-19 shot. The CDC has approved the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for children as young as five, and infants from six months are eligible for the flu shot. If you haven’t yet updated your children’s vaccines, call our office to schedule your appointment.
By implementing these precautions, you’ll be helping your family stay healthy this winter and be ready to welcome family and friends for the holidays.