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how to prepare for the flu

No one wants a stuffy nose, a harsh cough, a sore throat, and an achy body. That’s why every fall and winter, families brace themselves (and their children) for cold and flu season. Being sick can put a damper on holiday celebrations, schoolwork, and the household.

One case of the cold or flu can spread from parents to children and vice versa, leading to one unhappy family. Luckily, there are simple ways that you can prepare for and combat cold and flu season.

Assemble an Emergency Kit

When you feel the first sign of sickness coming on or your child starts complaining of a sore throat, you want to be prepared with all the emergency essentials to combat and relieve cold and flu symptoms. Before the start of cold and flu season, gather supplies to create an emergency sickness kit.

Helpful items that you can put in your emergency kit include:

  • Tissues
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Chapstick for dried-out lips
  • Cough drops
  • Pedialyte, Gatorade, and other fluids
  • Honey for cough reduction
  • Thermometers
  • Cold compresses
  • Humidifiers

Make sure you’ve stocked up your home with toilet paper, hand soap, and paper towels as well. Check your medicine cabinet to make sure that you have essential medications such as fever reducers, decongestants, saline sprays, and cough suppressants.

Wash Hands Properly and Disinfect Surfaces

Germs cause the spread of colds and flu strains. Common causes of sickness spreading within a family include unwashed hands, dirty surfaces, and children bringing home germs from their classmates.

To combat the spread of germs, be strict about hand-washing. Always tell your children to wash their hands before meals, after coming home from school, and after playing outside. Encourage them to wash their hands well using soap and warm water. Make sure your family washes their hands for at least 20 seconds, or the amount of time it takes to sing “Happy Birthday” twice.

To further prevent the spread of cold and flu germs in your home, disinfect heavily touched surfaces at least once a day. Make sure to wipe down doorknobs, sink handles, remotes, cell phones, computers, and other items that your family touches daily.

Stock Up on Easy Meals

When you are sick, it’s difficult to get up and perform daily tasks such as cooking and cleaning. If the cold or flu comes to your home and you get sick, make sure to stock your fridge with simple, healthy meals and snacks that you can whip up in a pinch.

Canned soup (especially chicken noodle), juices and sports drinks, granola bars, fresh fruit, and sandwich supplies are good food options for a sick family. Make sure to keep some comfort food options at hand, too – and don’t be afraid to order a pizza if you need it!

Get Your Flu Shot

The best way to prepare for cold and flu season is to take steps to prevent your family from getting sick in the first place. Take your family to receive their flu shots before cold and flu season begins, preferably before Halloween. While the flu vaccine’s effectiveness varies every year, it reduces the severity of flu symptoms and causes no harm to people who receive it.

By staying clean, stocking up on supplies, and getting your flu shot, you can keep you and your family healthy and happy.

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