In our busy lifestyles, spending time together at the holidays is precious. But the colds and flu that follow these get-togethers are definitely not precious. When we get together for the holidays we share love, laughs, joy and germs. Then, until mid January, we are down for the count with a cold or flu, spending too much time in the pharmacy line, and wishing “they” would come up with a magic pill to cure the common cold.
Well, there is no magic pill. But here here are 6 things you can do to make sure the laughter flows freely, the joy overwhelms you, and the only thing unhappy is the germs who don’t get to spread around and get you sick. This list of 6 ways comes from Germ Smarts for Kids with Germy Wormy.
6 Ways to Stop Cold and Flu Germs From Spreading
- Cough and sneeze into your sleeve. The CDC and doctors are recommending this rather than covering your cough/sneeze with your hands. If someone is sick and using their hands it is not a good idea to touch anything they touch before they wash their hands! Be extra careful of doorknobs, sink faucets, light switches, the fridge door and handrails.
- If you need to touch your face, the back of the hand is the place. Don’t touch germy surfaces with the back of your hand; touch them with your palm. Using your palm to touch your face is like creating an autobahn for germs. When out and about shopping, at parties and in large groups, consciously try to touch your face as little as possible. But if you have to, flip your wrist and keep your palms away.
- Keep germs from getting inside you – no fingers, hands or things in your mouth, eyes, ears and nose. Germs are invisible, so we don’t realize that we are giving germs a free ride when we put things in our mouth. If you find yourself with something in your mouth, image there are tons of germs all over it because it is probably true! A good gargle with a mouthwash is highly recommended.
- Things that touch mouths are not for sharing. This is a great one liner to use with kids when they reach for a siblings cup or food. At parties, have some way of labeling cups and glasses so that there is no accidental sharing of cups. Especially for the kids plastic cups. A Sharpie next to the stack of cups works wonders. Wine glass trinkets are excellent at get-togethers, as well. Remind your kids and grandkids about the dreaded double dipping. They should always take a spoonful of the dip on their plate with whatever they are dipping.
- Make sure you keep your distance when someone is sick – no hugging or kissing until everyone is better. Funny thing about holiday parties, no one likes to fess up that they are sick. If someone is coughing and sneezing and using their hands, casually start a conversation about how you heard the CDC recommendation about “cough and sneeze into your sleeve” since hands touch everything and elbows don’t touch very much.
- Wash your hands and face with soap and water – sing the ABC song! So many things to do, so many people to talk to, mingle, socialize, but don’t forget this very key germ stopper! Especially focus on washing your face. We don’t get sick from getting germs on our hands. We get sick by letting them get a ride on our hands to our face. Also, at a party, everyone is using the same hand towel in the bathroom. If you are hosting a party, splurge a little and get disposable hand towels for your guests to use. If you are a guest, bring some disposable hand towels with you.