This was one of the worst years in recent history when it came to the flu. Thus far, for the 2017-2018 season, there have been over 211,400 positive flu tests in the United States alone! That’s a lot of flu going around. As a mom of a competitive gymnast, we are required to travel several times a year, smack dab in the middle of flu season. As you may know, that just increases the risk of contracting nasty bugs along the way. I’ll share with you my simple tips of what I did that helped me avoid catching the flu.
- Wash your hands! This may sound simple, but it is one of the best things you can do to avoid catching the flu. There are so many viruses that you come into contact with daily. Germs are everywhere. On doorknobs, the keypads you use in the checkout line, and more. They can survive on hard surfaces for 24-48 hours. Washing your hands several times a day can dramatically cut down on the spread of viruses, but if you’re not near a sink, that leads me to tip number two.
- Hand sanitizer! I keep a mini sanitizer in my purse at all times, two in the car (one in the front seat and one in the back), and one at home. I don’t work in a public facility, but if i did, I would keep one there too. However, all sanitizers are not created equal. For assured effectiveness, it must have 60 percent alcohol content or greater or it will NOT kill the flu! I made sure to use sanitizer every time I left the grocery store or was in contact with other people. This may seem like overkill, but it ensured i did not bring viruses to my home. Every single time I got back into my car after going inside a store, I used my hand sanitizer.
- Clorox wipes! I also carry Clorox wipes with me at all times, especially while travelling. If I was going to the gas station, i would use a wipe to grab the handle and even to push the buttons to pay. I also used them when opening doors to go inside and for the bathroom doors as well. When leaving, even though I made sure to wash my hands, I would still use sanitizer in the car because there are still things you are touching on the way out. As with sanitizer, all wipes are not created equal. They must say on the container that they kill the flu virus. Don’t be fooled by antibacterial wipes, as the flu is viral, not bacterial.
- Lysol everything! Hotel rooms are full of germs. Many travelers are in and out daily. Housekeeping may clean the rooms, but they are not sterilizing them daily. I made sure to always carry lysol with me while traveling so I could spray all of the hot spots in the room. These included doorknobs and parts of the doors that people may grab, bathroom faucets, the entire toilet, hairdryer handle, thermostat buttons, light switches on the wall, and switches on the lights themselves (be careful not to spray into anything electrical as this poses a risk of shock). Also, one of the dirtiest spots in the room has got to be the T.V. remote! Definitely give this a good spray.
- Taking Emergen-C Daily! My favorite pick is the chewable tablet version as they seem to contain the highest levels of vitamins. I know that vitamins cannot prevent the flu, but they do help to build your immune system up nice and strong. Even if you do manage to get a cold or another minor illness, it will not last quite as long. I made sure to take them every single day without fail.
- Neosporin ointment in the nostrils! This is by far the weirdest thing I did this year to avoid catching the flu. It was actually a trick I picked up from an E.R. nurse. Her reasoning was that any of the airborne aerosols would not be able to work their way up your nose past the sticky substance. I only used this trick a few times when I had to go to the competitions since they are jam-packed with coughing and sneezing people. All you do is put some neosporin on a clean Q-Tip and rub it around the inner part of your nostrils. It doesn’t have to be a brand name, just make sure to get the ointment because the cream will dry in your nose. I’m not quite sure if this really works, but even though there were sick people all around me in the arenas, I did not catch what they had.
I can’t say if it was one of these things, or all of them that helped me to stay healthy this winter or if it was just plain luck LOL! But doing this did make me feel a bit more at ease during a very scary flu season. I must say that I am not a medical professional, nor am I saying that if you do these things, you won’t get sick. Always seek guidance from your own doctor for you and your family’s health, and please remember that this article is all in good fun.