Cold and flu season is here with a vengeance! Now is the time to make sure we have preventative practices in place to ensure that our household isn't attacked by these nasty viruses. By making an effort to stick to the following healthy habits, I know I can make an impact on the health of my family when it comes to food preparation, household purchases, and daily cleaning.
5 Healthy Practices to Follow During the Cold and Flu Season
1. Wash hands (and hand towels) frequently. The best way to prevent your family from getting the cold or flu is to make sure everyone is washing their hands frequently. Remind kids to wash their hands before eating, and not to put their hands near their mouth our eyes. I make sure my kiddos and I wash our hands right after walking in the door when we are home after running errands or after school. Don't forget to wash hand towels frequently! I recently purchased more hand towels and was excited to find American made 1888 Mills Made Here collection hand towels available at Walmart.com. 1888 Mills has filled 200 American manufacturing jobs at their Griffin, Georgia towel facilities.
2. Eat yogurt once a day. I strongly believe that the regular consumption of yogurt helps strengthen the immune system- especially when it comes to sinus issues. I used to get sinus infections all the time growing up. So much so that I was constantly going to the doctor for them- until I went to a doctor in college that suggested eating yogurt regularly as a preventative measure. He had said that the probiotics in the yogurt could help in preventing the repeated infections. It worked! Today, I always have yogurt in the fridge, where it's available for quick breakfasts, school lunches, and on the road snacks. When I buy yogurt for my family, I make sure to read the labels carefully. I look for yogurt with active cultures and with no chemical sweeteners. I try to buy organic and NOT low fat.
3. Drink lots of water! According to the CDC, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, water is needed to cushion joints, protect the spinal cord, and helps the body get rid of waste. Keeping the body hydrated is also said to make the immune system stronger to fight off illnesses. The cool designs on Tervis water bottles bring some fun into drinking water! My son keeps his Tervis water bottle on his desk at school.
4. Wipe bathroom and kitchen counters down frequently with a vinegar based cleaner. I absolutely LOVE my homemade vinegar based cleaning spray! Vinegar is a natural disinfectant and is a great alternative to bleach. I feel comfortable using it often without exposing my family to harsh chemicals, and because there are no harsh chemicals, I use it OFTEN. I keep a bottle by the sink to wipe down the kitchen counter and table after every use. I also keep a bottle in the bathroom to wipe down the bathroom sink and counter every night. For the vinegar cleaner recipe, and for more tips on green cleaning, check out my post Made in the USA for Over 100 Years, The Original Green Cleaners.
5. At the first hint of congestion, sniffles, nausea, or a sore throat, brew up a cup of ginger tea. Ginger tea is a favorite home remedy of my household! I make it the second anyone shows any symptoms of illness. It contains two cold and flu soothing ingredients: ginger and honey. Ginger contains chemicals that may reduce upper respiratory irritation and nausea. Honey is used to soothe sore throats and helps stop coughs. Ginger tea is easy to make.
5-6 thin slices of fresh ginger, peeled
1-2 cups boiling water
1-2 tablespoons of local honey
a slice of fresh lemon (optional)
Add ginger and water to a small pan. Bring to a boil and simmer for about 15 minutes. You can simmer longer, it just makes the flavor stronger. You can also add more ginger at the beginning too- this also will make the flavor stronger. Pour into mug. Add honey and a slice of lemon if desired.
For more tips on fighting the cold and flu, check out the following USA Love List articles: