There are plenty of fun things to love about winter, such as perfect white snow to ski, board, sled or play in, and the excuse to sit in front of toasty warm fires and drink hot chocolate and eat marshmallows. However, one downside to the colder months of the year is that they often bring with them a lot more bugs. To keep yourself and your family as safe from illness as possible, it’s important to take proactive steps around the home and in daily life. Read on for some top ways to keep bugs at bay this winter.
Keep Your House Clean
It’s also important to keep your house clean, so bugs become less of an issue. Some viruses are actually able to live on surfaces for hours or even days at a time, so the more you clean, the sooner you will get rid of them.
It’s especially vital to clean the key touch points in your home. This refers to areas where hands (and therefore germs) end up regularly. For instance, commonly-touched spots are light switches, door and drawer handles, toilet flusher, fridge doors, computer keyboards, countertops, cupboards, sinks and faucets.
While there are all sorts of cleaning products you can use to clean your home, note that bleach and heavy chemicals are not kind to your skin or the planet, so it’s better to choose more eco-friendly options. A solution of soapy water mixed with tea tree oil is a good choice, or you can use lemon and vinegar. Many organic cleaners are sold at affordable prices in stores these days, too.
Good Hygiene Habits
Good hygiene habits are also a key to remaining in good health. Everyone in your family, including your children, should follow steps such as regularly washing hands with both soap and water for at least 20 seconds of washing time. Hands need to be thoroughly dried off after washing, too. Plus, when you have dirty hands, such as after returning from shopping, be sure not to touch your eyes and nose, as doing so can spread germs. Hands must be washed properly before preparing or eating food.
Furthermore, to ensure germs aren’t spread from family member to family member, each person should sneeze or cough into their elbows rather than out into the room or onto someone else. Many nasty bugs are spread via these exhalations, so making this one change can be vital. Strep, for instance, can be communicated between people this way. (Note, though, that you should learn the difference between strep and sore throat as they can present with some of the same symptoms.)
Increase Your Immunity
For starters, if you do things to increase your immunity levels, this will help your body fight off any nasties that come near. You will help your immune system if you, for example, have a healthy lifestyle, get enough vitamin D (especially once the weather cools down) and eat lots of foods rich in vitamin C. Many doctors also prescribe flu vaccinations, especially for the very young or for elderly patients.
Eating well will help you to avoid getting sick, as being healthy in this regard boosts immunity. Your diet should contain enough protein sources plus plenty of fresh vegetables and fruits, and good fats like nuts and avocado. Don’t go too long between meals either, as this can increase stress on your body and affect immunity levels.
Get Enough Rest
Another prime way to keep bugs at bay is by getting enough rest. When you don’t have enough sleep (a minimum of seven hours per night), your immune system tends to be lowered and you’ll be more vulnerable to sickness.
A good strategy for ensuring you have enough sleep is to set up nightly routines to help you switch off, and you should create a restful sleeping environment. For instance, stop looking at TV, computer, tablet and smartphone screens at least an hour before bedtime, as the light used in these can signal to your brain that you need to stay awake.
You might want to also have a relaxing bath before bed, spray some lavender on your pillow or set up a humidifier. These are handy because they can get your bedroom primed with the optimum level of humidity, which in turn will keep your nasal passages clear and using their natural antimicrobial properties to help fight germs.
Exercise is another thing to include in your day if you want to keep bugs away. Gentle to moderate exercise can help you to stave off colds, flus, coughs and many other illnesses. It boosts immune function generally and gets circulation working better, which helps to fight off illnesses.