It’s unavoidable that someone in your home will get sick with the cold and/or flu sometime over the next several months as we head into the cooler months.
You know it’s bound to happen and it’s certainly not any fun either.
I’ve been sick more as a parent then I ever was as a 4th grade teacher which is crazy to think because I definitely got sick a lot when I taught! My adorable little, chubby cheeked, cuddly and squishy little bundles of joy are in fact walking sees pools of germs. They bring a lot of viruses into our house, catching them at the playground, at preschool, at church, on the shopping cart… you name it.
Usually about mid-October when the first sign of a runny nose appears, I know I’m in for a long winter of sneezing, wiping noses, tummy bugs and other ailments that are swapped back and forth between the family.
The longer I have become a parent, I have become more prepared each year so I’m not totally caught off guard. I’m not in denial anymore that cold and flu season is coming and I have even come to accept the fact that we will all be sick once, if not more.
All of us will probably face one round of the sickies at least once this coming winter but instead of just rolling over and it letting it attack our families with no defense, there are some simple things we can do today to prepare for cold and flu season, maybe even possibly preventing it? (If we could be so lucky!)
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6 Tips for Preparing for Cold and Flu Season
1. Take stock of your medicine cabinet
If you haven’t cleaned out your medicine cabinet or first aid kit in a while, now is the time. Many over-the-counter medicines and prescriptions expire by a certain date and could lose their effectiveness.
It’s also a good idea to throw out anything that has lost it’s box and you have no idea what it is.
Now is a good time to stock up on some natural remedies too. I’ll admit my family does a mix of both. I like to explore homeopathic remedies to treat sniffles, stuffy noses and other common discomforts of colds but I’m not against using OTC medicines or prescriptions when needed.
Some of my go-to supplies are:
- Zarbee’s Naturals Children’s Cough Syrup
- A variety of essential oils including lavender, peppermint, lemon, and a germ-fighting blend
- Activated charcoal
- Peppermint and Ginger tea
- Honey throat drops and peppermints to suck on
- Essential oil diffuser and cool vapor humidifier
- Saline spray (each family member has their own spray)
2. Stock up your pantry and freezer
There is nothing quite as comforting then warm and soothing chicken soup when you are sick. Or maybe a fresh kettle of herbal tea with lemon and honey for a sore throat.
There is also nothing more frustrating then having to run out to the store to purchase one of these things when either you or one your family members is sick.
Instead of waiting to get sick to run to the store, use this time to stock your pantry and freezer with some basics to have on hand when you need them.
Some great things to keep on hand are:
- Herbal teas- I personally love and use Traditional Medicinals teas, the Seasonal Sampler box is a must
- Chicken broth and stock- I always have a carton of Organic Chicken broth in the pantry for emergencies but I also love to have jars of homemade broth too. Purchase a whole chicken or two next time you are at the store. Roast it and separate the meat into meal portions. Then use the bones and fat to make delicious and rich broth to freeze.
- Unsweetened applesauce
- Noodles for chicken soup
- Cooked, shredded chicken for soups
- Frozen vegetables for quick meals or to throw into soups, and of course plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables too 😉
3. Pick one or two natural, homeopathic remedies to focus on
If your goal is to start implementing more natural, homeopathic remedies into your at-home health care (good for you!) it can be really overwhelming to know where to start.
There is so much out there!
It’s best to make small baby steps and instead of thinking you have to jump all in, it might serve you better to focus on one or two natural remedies to start with.
Last year I focused on making my own vapor rub for when we where congested and had stuffy noses, and diffusing some essential oils into the air and placing a few drops in the cool vapor humidifiers we placed in our bedrooms at night.
4. Build up your immunity
It may seem like it’s not late to build up your immunity now to prevent colds or flus from running rampant in your home this winter but there are some simple things you can do to make your body stronger.
You may be familiar with the ever popular phrase, “An apple a day keeps the doctor away.” There is truth to that.
The more your diet consists of lots of fruits and vegetables, the more you are filling your body with disease fighting nutrients.
It’s also helpful to kick your sugar habit by limiting the amount of processed sugar you are feeding your body. This doesn’t mean you can’t have an occasional treat, but it’s probably not doing your body any good by constantly eating and drinking sugary treats.
I’ve been slowing eliminating sugar sugar from my diet following the Trim Healthy Mama plan and I can honestly say that not only do I feel better and more energized, but I’m finally starting to lose all those stubborn baby weight pounds too!
Keeping your body hydrated with pure water is also important. Many of us don’t drink enough water as it is and as a result our bodies feel run drown and without energy. Make it a goal to drink 8 glasses of water a day, you may be running to the bathroom more than normal for a few days but your body will quickly adjust.
Getting enough sleep should also be a priority for your family. Right now sleep is an oxymoron in my family with an 8 month old who still wakes up about once a night (sometimes more) and a 3 year old who gets night terrors but we still make sleep a priority by using nap time to rest, shutting down early in the evening to relax and setting a strict bedtime for both kids and adults.
5. Prepare your cleaning supplies
At the first sneeze I get a little compulsive and start wiping down all the doors, remotes, cabinets, bathrooms and change all the hand towels.
September is a good time to take stock of your cleaning supplies because if your cleaning cabinet is anything like mine (it’s sad and overflowing), it’s probably a good time to clean it out.
It sounds kind of funny… cleaning out your cleaning supplies 🙂
How many half empty bottles do you have that could be combined into one? How many full bottles do you have that you used only once but didn’t like enough to use again? What are you completely out of that you need to purchase or make?
Cleaning and organizing your cleaning supplies is good practice not only for being ready for cold and flu season but just in general.
It’s much easier to tackle the day-to-day cleaning when it’s all organized, full and ready to go. No more wading through half empty bottles to get to the one product you need.
I use a mix of homemade cleaning supplies and store bought varieties. I like making my own cleaning products because I know they are generally safer to use around my children, plus it usually costs a lot less to make your own. However I love the ease and convenience of purchasing some trusted staples that I know do the job.
6. Create a “feel better” basket
It’s hard to watch your kids when they are sick. They look and feel so miserable and helpless!
To try and make them feel as comfortable as possible, I like to make a special basket of books, small toys, a special movie or two, and some crayons and a coloring book that only gets pulled out when they are sick.
They might feel pretty lousy but at least they have some special activities to keep them occupied on the couch when they feel up to it.
It’s also a good idea to make sure you have plenty of tissues on hand, as well as a small portable bucket or basin on hand for the child who can’t make it to the toilet on time when sick.
A little planning, preparation, organizing and stocking up on some staples now can really help make the cold and flu season feel a little more bearable this year. Obviously it’s hard to prepare for every single illness that might come our way but thinking through the basics you know you’ll need will really come in handy down the road.
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