As a mother of a “daycare kid,” germs are just a given. It seems as if someone at daycare has a snotty running nose at all times and last year we had our share of sickness – ranging from pink eye to pneumonia. This year, since we won’t have all the benefits breastfeeding provides to Mason’s immune system, I’m really trying to be on the ball about how to prevent colds and flu from being part of our winter routine.
The first thing we’re going to do is a get a flu shot. Mason will get one at his upcoming 18 month checkup and I will get one later this month. I never got a flu shot before I had a kid, but now that I have a toddler to take care of, between the germs he brings home from daycare and the fact that it’s nearly impossible to chase a toddler while hugging the toilet, flu shots are going to be a part of our regular routine for the next many years.
Another thing we’re going to strive to do is get enough sleep! Your body and your immune system functions better with the proper amount of sleep. If you’re run down because you’re tired all the time, it’s much easier for germs to attack. For Mason, this means we’re striving for at least 11 hours of sleep a night and a 2 hour nap every day. Even though it’s sometimes tempting to keep him up an hour or two past his bedtime if we’re busy doing something, if he’s got to get up in the morning to go to “school” this isn’t fair to him. And for me, no blog reading is worth getting run down for lack of sleep – no more 11:30 pm+ bedtimes!
We’re also teaching Mason the importance of washing his hands after playing and before eating. He loves to “play” in the water, but we’re focusing on doing more than just splashing! Fortunately for us, he hates having dirty hands, so he’s constantly wiping any dirt and grime that he comes across off. Now if only he would do it somewhere other than his pants. We’ll get there! As for us adults, we cover our mouths with our elbow pit and use hand sanitizer frequently!
At work, our janitor wipes down all lightswitches, doorknobs, and frequently used buttons (like on the copy machine) with Lysol spray on a daily basis. This has REALLY cut down on cold and germ sharing at work and I’m going to start doing this at home too. If we’re sick and go into the bathroom, we can wash our hands to clean them, but those germs are still on the doorknob. Cleaning these common touch surfaces frequently is another prevention goal of mine!
These things all seem so simple, but they really seem to help! Last winter we managed to make it the entire winter without everyone in the house getting sick (at the same time) which to me, means we’re on to something! Teaching Mason good handwashing tactics, sanitizing high traffic areas, getting a flu shot, and making sure everyone is well rested and well fueled with healthy food will hopefully be the key to celebrating another icy cold Wisconsin winter without unwanted visits from the flu!
I wrote this blog post while participating in the SocialMoms and Lysol blogging program, for a gift card worth $40. For more information on how you can participate, click here.