If you have children at school it’s possible they’ll bring home all sorts of nasty bugs they’ve caught from classmates this winter.
However, you can also take numerous steps to help keep everyone’s immune system up and viruses at bay. The best defense is a good offense, as the saying goes, so get proactive today by following some of these tips.
Clean Your Home Well
As you’d imagine, it’s important to clean your home well so that bugs get the boot ASAP. Some viruses live on surfaces for a short time, while others can last for hours or even days, so being fussier with your cleaning in the winter months is wise.
In particular, clean all the touchpoints around your home — that is, areas where you and your family’s hands (and therefore germs) end up.
For instance, some of the most commonly touched places are doorknobs, light switches, refrigerator doors, cupboards, countertops, drawer handles, toilet buttons, faucets, sinks and computer keyboards.
Hard services are especially germ-friendly, yet often overlooked, so clean and disinfect all these spots, and you’ll be one step ahead of the nasties.
While you can disinfect using bleach or heavy chemicals, it’s kinder on the planet and often on your skin and bodies, too, if you use a solution of soapy water mixed with tea tree oil.
Lemon and vinegar are also good natural cleaning tools. There are many organic cleaners on the market these days, too.
Prepare Healthy Foods
Another way for you and your family to stay healthy is to eat well. Do your best to prepare healthy foods for each meal.
Don’t skip meals (going too long without eating can be seen by your body as stress, which will in turn affect your immunity), and make sure each time you eat your plate contains a protein source, plenty of vegetables and fruits and some carbohydrates and good fats (such as avocado and nuts).
Keep in mind, too, that viruses causing food borne illnesses often loiter on produce, so you’ll reduce the chances of sickness if you wash fresh items well, especially blanch greens such as spinach and kale.
Boost Your Immune System
Of course, there are ways to give your immune system a decided boost and thereby increase your resistance to viruses and other bugs.
For example, make sure you get enough vitamin D in the winter months and include plenty of foods rich in vitamin C in your diet too.
Plus, there are also reasons to get a flu vaccine to help your body stay healthy — vaccines can work as a form of preventative medicine, especially for the elderly and young children.
Have a Helpful Sleeping Environment
To keep illness away, it’s also vital to get enough sleep each night. You and your family should all be getting at least seven hours per night (more for young children) to help your bodies stay strong and immune systems operate optimally.
To get enough rest, create a sleeping environment and schedule that is conducive to optimal sleep. Stop looking at computer and TV screens just before bed, as the light used in these can keep you awake.
Also, set up relaxing bedtime routines to help the transition to sleep, and ensure your bedroom isn’t too dry.
Nasal passages need the right kind of humidity level to get their natural antimicrobial properties working well, which in turns helps to protect you against illness. Run a humidifier if need be.
Teach Kids Good Hygiene Habits
To keep your home a haven, it’s vital to teach your kids good hygiene habits (and obviously follow them yourself!).
For example, everyone in the household needs to regularly wash their hands with soap and water. Around 20 seconds of washing time, followed by a thorough drying off of the hands, is recommended.
In particular, teach children not to touch their faces (eyes and nose, especially) if they have dirty hands.
Always wash hands before touching the face in any way, as well as before preparing or eating any food.
Sneezes should be directed into elbows and not hands, so germs don’t spread.
We all know exercise is good for us in general, but did you realize that it can also help you to stave off colds, flus and many other illnesses?
Gentle to moderate exercise (you don’t need to go too hard) helps to boost immune function and gets circulation working more effectively.
Even slower-paced activity such as yoga and Pilates can have a beneficial effect and help you to fight off illnesses.