In case you didn’t know, its flu season.
If you have kids, I’m pretty sure I don’t need to tell you that it’s flu season. In fact, I would venture to say that it’s less of a flu ‘season’ and more ‘flu panic’. According to The New York Times this flu season is the worst in nearly a decade, and mothers everywhere are feeling the panic as they send their little soldiers out every day to engage in germ warfare.
According to the CDC, in the 2014-15 flu season, 34 million Americans got sick, 710,000 were hospitalized, and 56,000 died. This year, we are expected to hit similar numbers, or perhaps surpass those estimates entirely.
I’m not saying this to scare you, because at the end of the day there is only so much we can do. I will say that it’s a good idea to beef up your flu defenses, for both yourself and your family. Aside from flu shots and hand-washing, there are some natural steps you can take to help. Here are a few tips on how to keep your loved ones healthy in the coming months.
Add immunity-boosting foods into your meals. The following foods help boost your immune system naturally, so try and work them into your family’s meals as much as possible:
Garlic and onions
Broccoli and spinach
Get enough exercise and sleep. I know its too cold to spend exorbitant amounts of time outside, but exercise is important to keeping your immune system running smoothly, and it will also help you get more sleep at night. Consider some at-home family workouts (kids workout DVD’s can be fun, even for adults), and keep it in the family (in terms of outside germs). Also, set a bedtime for everyone, and stick to it so you can make sure everyone gets the proper amount of sleep.
Take your vitamins. Zinc, Echinacea, Vitamin D, and Vitamin C are always good ideas to take during cold months, especially during flu season.
Consider probiotics. Probiotics help replace good bacteria in your gut, which can be stripped for any number of reasons from stress, to poor diet choices or illness. Yogurt, miso soup, sourdough bread, kombucha, and soft cheeses are all good probiotics. You can also just hit up your local grocery store and cruise down the yogurt aisle to make it easy on yourself, though.
Don’t freak out. I know there are a lot of scary facts about the flu going around, and as mothers, we only want to protect our families. Stress is horrible for your immune system, so worrying too much might actually make you more susceptible to the flu! Drink some tea, so some yoga, or try some breathing exercises if you are feeling anxiety. As we all know, moms aren’t really allowed to get sick!