10 Healthy Winter Habits for Your Family
Written By Renee Arbia
Originally published 12/2/14
So many families have been battling colds, coughs and respiratory infections this season. I thought it would be a good time to revisit our healthy winter habits. I know with my family I needed to be sure we are doing all ten! How does your family stay healthy in the winter?
According to The Old Farmer's Almanac, we are expecting an especially cold winter season this year. I can almost bet the groundhog will be predicting a long winter to go along with it. It is a proven fact that our immune systems can be somewhat comprised more in the winter time, and with so many colds, flus and virus' going around, you need to be sure to keep your family as healthy as possible. Here are ten easy tips to help keep your family healthy this winter.
10 Healthy Winter Habits For Your Family
1) Drink Plenty Of Water
You need to stay hydrated and water is the best thing you can drink. Staying hydrated helps with your circulation. Children are particularly susceptible to be dehydrated as they usually do not drink as much water as they should. Water or coconut water (for children older than 1) is best to keep yourself hydrated as sugary drinks do not hydrate very well at all. Beware of sports drinks they do not hydrate either they have too much sugar. For breastfeeding moms, if your baby is under six months old, do NOT feed them water instead consider nursing more frequently or for longer periods of time to make sure your little one has extra hydration, very similar to what you would do in the heat.
2) Wash Those Hands
It does not matter if you think they are too chapped to be washed. This is the easiest and most effective way to ward off germs. Teach your entire family good bathroom habits. Be sure to wash your hands after even entering the bathroom, before preparing food, before eating food, when coming inside the house from anything, and after leaving a store or restaurant. (Hand sanitizers work just about as well as hand washing when necessary). Also, be sure to wash your hands in hot or warm water. You can teach little ones to wash their hands in the soap, while they sing Happy Birthday. That is about the length of time your hands should be soapy. Parents of infants be sure to wash their hands often, but be sure to use gentle cleansers.
3) Get To Sleep
Our bodies need more rest in the winter to help keep us healthy and warm. Be sure you and everyone in your family is getting the recommended amount of sleep they need on a regular basis. Getting a good night's rest also can help improve your overall mood for the next day.
4) Keep Up The Vitamins
Pretty much from birth to senior citizen everyone should be taking a vitamin, especially in the winter time. Now is not the time to consider dropping that vitamin due to the expense. Children need a lot of iron and calcium this time of year. Adults always need an immunity boost as we are usually the worst at taking care of our vitamin needs. So go get a regular multivitamin and be sure everyone in your family takes one specifically designed for their needs. Also, check out some immunity boosting items when they are needed such as these Soothie Suckers (click the link to not only read about them, but also get the code for a $2.00 off coupon good through 12/31/14).
5) Eat Plenty Of Veggies
Just like vitamins, now is not the time to skimp on what your body is in need of. Be sure to eat plenty of leafy green and colorful vegetables. Some strong immunity boosting foods are mushrooms, carrots, sweet potatoes and almonds.
6) Get Your Vaccines Up To Date
It's flu season if you have not already gotten your flu shot for you and your family, now is the best time to do it. If you are worried about your child, be sure to talk to your pediatrician about the different options they have now. You can get a regular shot, smaller needle shot or the nose mist with the live virus. Most insurances cover flu vaccines and you can even go to CVS Minute Clinics now and get your flu shot.
7) Coconut Oil
Many people and parents swear by coconut oil. It works best when you think your child is first developing an illness. Rub it on the soles of their feet at bedtime and it should ward off the illness. Many other essential oils can help with colds and virus' as well, but be careful when using essential oils on children as some are much stronger than others and are too strong for the sensitive skin of a child. Try out my homemade all natural Toddler Cold and Cough Remedy.
8) Eat Your Probiotics
Probiotics can ward off illness and help you rid yourself of an illness. Look for yogurts with active cultures in them such as bifidobacterium lactis or lactobacillus rhamnosus GG.
9) Practice Sick Etiquette
Even though you feel horrible and think your head may explode, getting into these habits can help to keep a cold from spreading around your house. Be sure to practice sick etiquette all the time and teach it to your children. They are never too young too learn. Always sneeze into your shoulder or elbow, cough into your elbow and throw out your own tissues and wash your hands after blowing your nose. Also, be sure to dispose of old tissues quickly so they do not sit in a garbage can for a long period of time and spread germs.
Right before anyone gets sick and right after someone is sick is the best time to sterilize things so that germs are not sticking around. Be sure to sterilize water bottles, sippy cups, baby bottles, door knobs, stair railings, and even toothbrushes. Most items can be put in the dishwasher with hot water, you can wipe items with vinegar and water, and a wet toothbrush can be carefully (watch to be sure of melting) microwaved for 10 seconds or run in the dishwasher with your utensils.
It is estimated that the average person gets at least four colds a year, hopefully this will reduce your odds this year!
Sources for this article were: Kiwi Magazine December 2014/January 2015 edition