As I write this, I am on week two of the nasty flu bug getting headlines in the media. The never-ending flow of mucus and hacking cough has been about as delightful as a root canal without the anesthetic. As all moms know, there's no rest for the sick mom.
You can avoid my snotty luck. I've compiled a brief list of tips for keeping your family healthy during the flu season. Other parents need to be spared this fatigued-induced fate.
Although the annual flu shot is about 80 per cent effective, Whistler doctor Janice Carr stresses the importance of getting vaccinated. The Canadian Centre for Disease Control recommends that almost all children (starting at six months) and adults get the flu shot ever year.
"This year, the flu shot covers two out of three of the flu strains out there. The ideal time to get a flu shot is from mid-November to early December because it takes time for the body to make antibodies," Carr said. "You can still get a flu shot now and most pharmacies carry the flu vaccine."
I should note that I dutifully got my flu shot this year, along with my daughter and husband. While it seems I fall in the 20 per cent of folks who still get sick, I've comforted myself with the knowledge that perhaps I'd be sicker without the vaccine.
Also anecdotally, my husband and daughter are still fit as fiddles despite my incessant coughing and other bodily fluids sprayed about the house.
Regions throughout North America have been reporting record numbers of influenza cases Carr said, and although Whistler has not yet experienced these numbers, she expects to see a higher rate of influenza before the winter is done.
I think it's the genetics of most Whistler folks. Half of Whistler residents own an Olympic gold medal, hike mountains before breakfast and have the immune systems of demigods.
We've all heard it before. Wash your hands. Remind yourself and your kids to practice good hygiene habits. A few simple habits and behaviours are all it takes to drastically reduce your chance of infection when colds and the flu are around:
• Wash hands regularly, especially before and after eating or when around sick people;
• Refrain from touching their face — bacteria and viruses most commonly enter the body through the eyes, nose and mouth; so keep germy hands away from these areas; ?
• Cover mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze — do this with your elbow and not your hand to reduce the transmission of germs to your face and other people’s airspace. A tissue, if handy, is even better.
These simple practices will help you to protect your family from the ravages of cold and flu season.
"If your kids are sick, keep them away from school and teach them good hygiene," Carr added.
There's also something to be said about a healthy immune system. According to wholeliving.com, sleep-deprived people produce fewer virus-fighting cells. Go figure. I need to chat with my daughter about mommy's need for a solid eight hours of sleep per night.
The website also suggested eating healthy, getting enough exercise and boosting vitamin D. In fact, a Finnish study found those with low vitamin D were one and a half times more likely to get a respiratory infection than those in the control group. Health Canada recommends 200 IU daily for adults under age 50, and 400 IU for those over 50.
After reading the research, the answer is simple. I told my husband we just need to hire a live-in nanny, book monthly tropical vacations, get a personal trainer and hire a chef to ensure that mom gets everything she needs to avoid the flu.
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