The Circulating Head Cold: Tips to Keep Your Family Healthy
It's just about that dreaded time of year: cold season. Colds spread from school, soccer practice, or daycare to your home, making you, and everyone else around, sick. Not only does a cold make you feel terrible, but it puts a strain on your wallet. Families spend unnecessary money each year on all kinds of cold medicine that works to mixed results, plus there are costly trips to the doctor, and lost income from staying home from work sick or taking time off to care for sick little ones. Check out these tips to help prevent catching colds, especially when someone is already sick. And for more information, take a look at these 35 Great Home Remedies for curing just about anything, not just colds.
What to do for those are not yet sick:
- Wash your hands: And wash them frequently. It can't be said enough how important it is to wash hands before and after meals, after blowing noses or coughing, or whenever you touch things already touched by sick family members. It really is the best way to help prevent the spread of disease. Get some hand sanitizer or sanitary wipes to bring with you on the go.
- Do not share food, drink, or utensils: Keep anything at meal-times exclusive to a particular family member. Don't let kids share drinks or eating utensils with sick ones -- that's an easy way to spread germs.
- Clean toys: One thing you might not be able to stop children from sharing is their toys. After a sick child is done playing, clean the toy quickly before you let other children play with it. Germs are spread most easily through communal items that sick people use along with the well members of a family. Also clean other shared items, like the TV remote.
- Avoid kissing: An affectionate family is a loving one, but stick to hugs when it's cold season. Kissing spreads germs really easily because lips and saliva is involved. A simple way to help keep everybody healthy is to put kissing on hiatus, even pecks on the cheek.
- Stock up on orange juice and Echinacea: If you don’t want to spend the next two days living on the couch, start your day with a tall glass of orange juice, and take two Echinacea (essential in protecting your immune system)
What to do if you are sick:
- Wash your hands: It's that important. Don't spread germs by washing your hands frequently, especially after you sneeze or cough.
- Drink plenty of fluids: Staying hydrated is a key to fighting off the germs that make you sick. Even better, get some Emergen-C or other mix packed with vitamin C. It helps boost your immune system.
- Don't cough or sneeze into your hands: You use your hands to touch all kinds of communal items around the house. If you have germs in your hands, you'll spread them too easily. Instead, cough or sneeze into a tissue or your elbow to minimize the spread of germs through touching.
- Immediately throw away used tissues: Don't mess around -- throw away tissues after you sneeze or cough into them. Germs can live on tissues for hours, and leaving them around the house will let them jump to other family members. Also, the germs on used tissues that are left around can reinfect you every time you use or touch it, only making you sicker and slowing down your recovery time.
- Take your vitamins: Even if you’re already sick, vitamins are a necessary supplement to whatever cold remedies you take. Pair them with plenty of fluids to speed your recovery.
Edward Stern is a guest blogger for An Apple a Day and a writer on becoming a phlebotomist for the Guide to Health Education.