It’s always a struggle to survive flu season. There is something so incredibly heartbreaking about watching a baby or toddler suffer from the stomach flu. They don’t know what is happening. It hurts and they can’t control it. The look in their baby eyes, begging you to help, is so devastating as all you can do is just hold them until it’s all over. My sixteen month old son woke up vomiting recently, victim to the host of back-to-school germs brought home by his older siblings. It was horrible to hold him down and shove a bowl in his face every time he began to gag. He wanted to run away from it and from me. In his little mind, I was the one inflicting the torture on him. In fact, he preferred his dad for the next several days as a result.
Cold and flu season is coming quick. Even though it may feel like the height of summer outside, the mountains are just beginning to show a bit of red, first sign of the coming fall. Over the past decade of being a parent, I’ve collected a few tricks to help survive flu season. You might have heard them before, but to help get through the long, dark winter, it definitely bears repeating.
- Drink lots of water. Are you so sick of that advice yet? The thing is, once the weather cools a bit, people stop drinking. And staying hydrated is such an important part of staying healthy. Encourage your kids to drink water. Make it easily available. Use fun cups or their favorite water bottle. For some reason, if I add ice, my kids will down so much more water. Whatever works for your family, keep them hydrated!
- Kill those germs! Remind your kids to wash, wash, wash their hands! Once you send them to school, it’s all up to them, but remind them that if they wash their hands after they use the bathroom, before they eat and after they play outside, their chances of getting sick drop drastically. At home, get into the habit of making a quick disinfecting run through the house. Grab your favorite antibacterial wipe, or hydrogen peroxide and a rag and run it over your light switches, door knobs, water faucets and fridge handles. Keeping those high traffic germ centers clean will go a long way to keeping your family healthy and survive flu season.
- Early to bed, early to rise. The more sleep your family gets, the healthier they will be. So, while a late night is great once in awhile, don’t make it a habit. School starts earlier and earlier and if your children get run down, they’ll be more susceptible to all the germs floating around this time of year. So, maybe let the teenagers sleep in a bit on the weekends and flip off light in your bookworm’s room a little earlier. It’ll be worth it in the long run.
- Throw away your toothbrush. If your family does get hit, bring out a new set of toothbrushes for everyone. Most people don’t switch out their toothbrushes as often as they should. After a round of colds, throw them out! Another great tip is to keep toothbrushes separate, rather than in a common cup on the counter. Get each child a cup of their own to drink out of and store their toothbrush in when not in use. Another option is to provide reusable pouches to store toothbrushes in drawers. There’s no way for germs to mingle through a sheet of plastic!
- Baking soda is your friend. A few years ago, I discovered the many amazing uses for baking soda and since then have kept a Costco size bag on hand. I recently discovered that baking soda is the absolute very best way to clean up any middle of the night, didn’t quite make it to the toilet, emergencies. No one wants to scrub throw up out of the carpet at 2:00 in the morning. Just sprinkle baking soda liberally over the spots, cover with a towel and allow to dry. It will kill the smell, too. In the morning, wash the towel and vacuum up the baking soda and dried vomit. Chances are there will be a stain left behind that will need to be scrubbed up, but no chunks. (This is a very disgusting article. I hope you have a strong gag reflex.)
- Heat things up. When we bought a new house with laminate floor in the kitchen, I bought myself a steam mop to help speed up cleaning. I loved the idea of cleaning and disinfecting without using chemicals. When I opened it up for the first time and read through the directions, I discovered that it came with an attachment the lifted the mop face slightly off the ground in order to use on the carpet. It took a minute to figure out why you might need to steam mop the carpet, but after flu season hit, I realized that killing the germs in the carpet was super important, especially when you have a crawler. You’ll still need to clean the carpet, but as for the germs that hide in the carpet fibers, they’re dead.
Chances are, even if you do all of these things, and more, to keep your family healthy, they’ll still end up sick once or twice this winter. Just keep some extra chocolate on hand for the bad nights, and be sure to stay caught up on your own sleep! You never know when you’ll need it!
Do you have any great tips to survive flu season? We’d love to hear about it! Please leave us a comment, and share.