Flu – and new viruses – do come round every year. It’s the nature of things. We will never get rid of them completely.
But flu – and flu like viruses – can obviously be really nasty for children and the elderly and those in our families with respiratory and immunity problems.
And there are simple, powerful things we can do to help protect our family from flu without getting ourselves into a blind panic and hiding away every time a new virus appears.
A flu jab can offer protection for vulnerable members of our family but simple hygiene habits can also massively increase family flu protection.
And its those simple hygiene habits – the one’s our granny knew – that we all too often forget in our crazily over busy lives.
Simple Hygiene Habits
The World Health Organization have made clear the critical importance of good hygiene habits : their number one guideline for flu prevention, after vaccination, is simply proper hand washing.
We all know it’s important but do we do it?
And do our kids do it? When they’re not with us?
I mean do you honestly know if your kids’ school requires them all to wash their hands before they eat? And actually gives them time to do it?
They used to. But not so much now.
How crazy is that? We have fancy hand gels – that don’t work as well – and spray nasty cleaning chemicals everywhere but we don’t make enough time in our kids lives for them to wash their hands properly before lunch!!!
So, if we really want to protect our families from flu and other viruses these are the key family flu protection tips we need to focus our efforts on.
Do have a read through & save them for later. They truly can help.
Key Flu Protection Tips
- Wash hands well frequently : with hot water and soap for at least a minute, especially before meals. This is the single most powerful thing we can all do protect ourselves from flu and viruses. Washing hands well means wetting, lathering with soap and then scrubbing between fingers, in nails and up to and around wrists for 2 verses of Happy Birthday, before rinsing well and drying. Nag the whole family about it everyday and supervise small children doing it.
- Check school hand wash procedures : children are more vulnerable to flu and viruses and are key carriers. In the midst of a busy school day they easily forget basic hand washing routines. Even junior and middle school kids and teenagers need reminding to wash hands before meals. Check what your kids school do.
- Use hand gel as backup : hot soapy water is more effective at protecting us from flu than alcohol based gels. They are worth carrying as a back up but used only if hand washing isn’t possible
- Wash hands when you come in : we obviously are more exposed to flu and viruses in public spaces whether at the shops or work or on public transport so its just sensible to wash hands when we come in.
- Change hand towels frequently : we’ve all got very good at wearing clothes once and bunging them in the wash but a bit rubbish at washing stuff like towels. We’d be better off washing clothes less and shared towels more. Especially when anyone is sick.
- Wash towels & bed linen on hot wash : there’s lots of advice around at the moment about washing at lower temperatures to help the environment. I am passionate about living a more eco friendly lifestyle but towels and bed linen need a hot wash. It’s that simple.
- Get enough rest : our bodies are much more vulnerable to flu and infection when we’re over tired or down right exhausted. Proper sleep every night AND proper rest every week can increase our family’s ability to fight flu and viruses. Again it’s that simple.
- Boost immunity : simple changes to family eating habits can also boost our immunity to flu and viruses. Less sugar and more vitamin C and iron obviously but better gut health is also key as our gut is our major line of defence against sickness and it needs loads of good bacteria in it to do that job. Use this list of over 50 different gut friendly foods to restore family gut health.
- Disinfect high contact areas : we don’t need to clean our homes obsessively or spray chemicals everywhere to protect our families from sickness but regularly wiping down high contact areas like door handles, light switches, fridge doors and computers with vinegar or rubbing alcohol can help contain infection.
- Wash water bottles well : many of us now carry reusable water bottles and coffee cups and if we’re honest give them a quick rinse most days rather than a proper wash in hot water and soap. They need that proper wash daily.
- Sneeze protection : cough and sneezing over each other is obviously a major way we spread infection. Getting back into the ritual of carrying a clean handkerchief everyday – even when we’re not sick – and covering out mouth and nose when we cough and sneeze is another simple but powerful hygiene habit the World Health Organisation recommends to protect us from flu.
- Stay home with early symptoms : this flu protection tip is obviously not possible for lots of people but working from home for a day or so – and resting – when we first feel rough with a flu or virus can help our immune systems kick in effectively and stop germs being passed around.
- Trash tissues properly : once anyone in the family gets sick, trashing tissues properly is key. Give people a paper bag to put used tissues in and bin the bags frequently throughout the day in an outside bin.
- Improve gut health : antibiotics are obviously unbelievably important in helping us fight disease but over use is fuelling the rise of super bugs. And antibiotics actually destroy the good bacteria in our gut which is a key part of our immune system. If anyone in the family does end up on antibiotics make sure you restore their gut health with pro-biotic rich food.
- Granny’s remedies : research now shows granny’s old remedies like chicken broth and honey and lemon and simple herbs can help us get better when anyone in the family has basic flu, cold and cough symptoms. Try simple traditional recipes chock full of natural antibiotics that sooth symptoms, fight infection and critically help us rest and including :
Sadly, flu and nasty viruses will keep coming back. We will never defeat them completely and we will suffer with them. But rediscovering these super simple good hygiene habits really can help protect our families by reducing the likelihood of infection and boosting our immune systems so our bodies can fight back.
I really hope you found these tips helpful. Do save them for later.
Original image sources: thermometers, child , hands under Creative Commons