How can you keep your family healthy during cold and flu season, when they’re cooped up indoors where germs can multiply? Wellness requires a little extra effort in wintertime, but with a few simple steps, you’ll be able to fend off cold-weather germs and keep everyone as healthy as possible.
Keep Your Family Warm
Why do people tend to get sick in winter? Evidence suggests that our immune systems are weaker when our bodies are using more energy to regulate internal temperature. Use space heaters or zoned heating to keep your living space toasty by day and your bedrooms cozy at night. Make sure everyone in the family has plenty of warm gear that fits for outdoor play, and buy stretchy gloves that will fit kids or adults to keep on hand as a backup.
Keep Your Hands Clean
Your hands are the most likely part of your body to come into contact with germs, and they will stay on your hands until they find a way to either enter your body or transfer to the next person. Research has found that washing your hands five times a day with soap and water can decrease the incidence of respiratory illness by 45 percent. If you teach your kids to wash their hands every time they use the restroom, they should be able to hit that five-times- per-day mark easily. Can’t get to a sink? Using hand sanitizer has been shown to reduce stomach bugs by 59 percent.
Mind the Indoor Air Quality
When windows and doors stay closed, germs and allergens are trapped inside, along with pollutants, allergens, and other irritants. Change the filter on your furnace regularly, vacuum often to remove dust and pet dander, use a dehumidifier if you need one, and consider an air purifier to keep your indoor air fresh and healthy.
Our immune systems are healthier when we are happier. boosted by things like social support, self-expression, and stress reduction. It’s easy for kids to get isolated when it’s too cold to ride their bikes or go to the park. Sign them up for regular library activities, bundle them up and take them to dance class, or invite their friends for sleepovers whenever you can.
Exercise boosts immunity, too. Just because your kids can’t get outdoors doesn’t mean they can’t stay active and fit. Provide them with jump ropes, bean bag toss games, and other safe ways to keep moving indoors.
Keeping your family healthy in winter takes a little extra effort. If you can keep your kids warm, happy, and active through the bad weather while you protect them from germs, you should get through the season with minimal issues.