Parents have a lot of responsibility: they have to take care of themselves, their partner and their kids. This usually means that parents are short on spare time and thus, become very good at prioritizing. We have to make sure that we get the most important things done and that we keep some time free to enjoy as family. Cold and flu season is upon us and it is a good idea to work on flu-proofing your home so that flu doesn’t slow you or your family down.
In order to successfully flu-proof your home, you will need to address two areas: disinfection and good health habits. You can put these two actions on rotate and repeat because, as parents, we know that most things we say need to be repeated several times before becoming habits.
Let’s begin with the easiest part, disinfection. Surfaces and objects in your home may be contaminated with germs and/or the flu virus through touch or through someone coughing or sneezing on or near them. A good place to start flu-proofing your home is through cleaning and disinfecting.
If your kids are old enough, you’ll want to have the whole family help to cut down on the work. Be sure to demonstrate exactly how to do a proper job, and be sure to spot-check their work to make sure it is completed. You will want to frequently repeat this process of disinfection for areas and objects that receive high traffic like phones or common sitting areas.
While disinfection is the best place to start flu-proofing your home, it won’t last long without teaching the whole family good health habits to prevent the spread of cold and flu viruses. It is essential that kids learn to sneeze or cough into a tissue and then throw that tissue away. If they must cough or sneeze into their hands, they should go wash their hands with soap and scrub their hands for at least 20 seconds. In fact, learning to wash our hands effectively and often is so important that the CDC says, “Handwashing is like a “do-it-yourself” vaccine. It involves 5 simple and effective steps — wet, lather, scrub, rinse and dry — that you can take to reduce the spread of diarrheal and respiratory illness so you can stay healthy.” In conjunction with those good health habits, resisting the impulse to touch our own face can help prevent the spread of germs you may have come in to contact with on your hands to vulnerable areas like your mouth, eyes or nose.
Don’t forget to go over the good health habits with your kids several times to make sure they understand and that they become comfortable doing them on a daily basis. Ensuring that the whole family eats well and gets plenty of sleep is another great way guard your family’s overall health.
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