There are many things you can do to help prevent illnesses, such as N1H1 H1N1 (Swine Flu), in your family. Most of these do not cost anything and are things you can do everyday.
- Before all else, if you are sick, please stay home! Yes, times are tough for many, but please think of the greater good and stay home to get well.
- Frequently wash hands with plain soap and water (there is no evidence that anti-bacterial products are anymore effective at removing germs than plain soap and water). (See how to make your own non-toxic foaming hand wash.) BabyGanics has a great non-toxic foam hand soap as well and is available at Babies R Us.
- Use kid-safe, non-alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water is not available. I love CleanWell Hand Sanitizer. It’s available at GNC and Whole Foods. (See my CleanWell product review.)
- Degerm. When you get home each day, encourage everyone to do the following: a. Remove your shoes to keep germs from getting on the floors where children play
b. Change into clean clothes
c. Take a shower if at all possible, or at minimum, thoroughly wash hands
d. Wash any toys with soap and water or vinegar and water that your child may have brought with them
- Do not touch your face, bite your nails, put your hands in your mouth, etc. Teach your children to do the same.
- Keep babies from sharing and mouthing toys if and when possible. Wash them frequently with soap and water, or vinegar and water to sanitize.
- Take care of yourself: Get enough sleep, exercise, eat a balanced diet, drink lots of water (as opposed to sugary drinks).
- Take a vitamin supplement, especially Vitamin D. Some studies suggest illnesses such as the flu are brought on by lack of Vitamin D. I love Carlson’s Baby Vitamin D drops. They are actually cheaper than the traditionally recommended infant multi-vitamin, minus all the extra “junk” ingredients. They also have kids’ and adult versions. One drop a day is all you need – too easy!
- Take a daily probiotic. A recent study showed a significant decrease in the report of illnesses among a group who took a daily probiotic than those who did not. It’s also a good idea to mix up the brand and strains for maximum benefit. Children’s Rhino probiotic comes in a chewable and powder form and is all natural.
- Cough and sneeze into a tissue. If one is not available, use your sleeve (your hands will come in contact with more people and surfaces than your sleeve).
- Do not share utensils, drinks, etc. even with your children or spouse.
- Wear a face mask. It may offer additional protection during an outbreak.
- Avoid public places as much as possible during an outbreak.
- Stock up. Stock the freezer with veggies and meat, the pantry full of non-perishables, and anything else you would need to survive in your house for days or weeks at a time, so in the event of a major outbreak, you will not need to venture out of the house. Think toilet paper, laundry detergent, toiletries, pet food, etc.
- Have treatment supplies on hand such as fever reducing products, thermometers, tissues, hand sanitizer, etc.
- Refill any reoccurring prescriptions ahead of time
- Prepare for childcare. Have someone lined up to care for your kids in the event schools or daycares close, or you yourself become sick.
- Discuss telecommuting options with your boss.
Visit the CDC’s website and understand the symptoms of N1H1 H1N1. If you or your child becomes sick, contact your doctor or pediatrician immediately to understand any warning signs so you can get prompt attention when it is needed.