HEALTHY LIVING  | 10.26.20  |  by Julie Rhodins

We’re coming up on that time of the year — cold and flu season.  It’s particularly hard for families with two working parents, juggling work with children who get sick and have to manage that and work at the same time.  We like to look for ways at preventing the common cold as much as possible.  Everyone will be happier and healthier.  So in the spirit of loading up good things to do to stay healthy this winter, here’s a helpful list to try for preventing the common cold.

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Wash Hands Often

Common cold transmission causes include touching your face, eyes, and mouth with hands that have a contagious virus or bacteria on them. At SMG, we train our kids (and ourselves!) to not touch their face or eat without washing their hands.  We also wash our hands after being out in public.  For example, we wash our hands right after grocery shopping and running any errands outside of the home — the hand washing is the first stop after coming home. We’re also big fans of rubbing Zoono on our hands each morning, which is another way to cut down on getting sick from our hands.

You can also keep a bottle of hand sanitizer in your purse for hand sanitizing in the car, at the movie theatre, at the park, and anywhere on the go.  Put a bottle of hand sanitizer in your child’s backpack if they are at school — this is especially important for children who are moving from school desk to school desk during the day; use the hand sanitizer in between classes so that they are not picking up germs from the last five students who sat in that seat and touched the desk.

Further, for preventing the common cold it may also be prudent to squirt some hand sanitizer on a school desk and use a tissue to clean it before the student uses the desk. Sanitizing wipes are also an option. Here is a link to safety and effectiveness information on hand sanitizers and sanitizing wipes from the FDA — including information on COVID-19.

Up Your Vitamin C

There’s a bit of controversy over what vitamin C does or does not do for you regarding the common cold.  But this is what Mayo Clinic says —

In most cases, vitamin C supplements won’t help prevent colds. However, taking vitamin C before the onset of cold symptoms may shorten the duration of symptoms. Vitamin C may provide benefit for people at high risk of colds due to frequent exposure: for example, children who attend group child care during the winter.

We like natural food sources of vitamin C because you get so much more — other vitamins and nutrients, including fiber.  Citrus is great — oranges, grapefruit, tangerines, and more.  Also, mangos have a lot of vitamin C and can be chopped up and added to Greek yogurt, top a serving of waffles, added to a leaf salad, or eaten on their own.  Potatoes surprisingly have a huge amount of vitamin C, especially if you also eat the skin, and they tend to fill you up as well.

mango waffles

Mango Waffles are a quick and fun way for kids to get their vitamin C. Photo: National Mango Board

Reduce Your Stress

There is a connection between your immunity and stress.  And while it may be different for each person, common helps include getting enough sleep (how much sleep do you need?), exercising regularly, and having positive social interactions.  Knowing how to better manage the stress that is out of your control is also helpful.

For parents, if you are struggling with a child and juggling work and need a few more parenting skills to reduce stress, self-paced parenting classes can help give you options and help the household to find harmony.

And with the holidays coming up, that can also be a stress point. Instead, planning ahead and making the holidays less about gifts and more about time with each other can also be comforting and stress relieving. With COVID-19, this may mean an adjustment in how you spend time with each other — but with technology (like Zoom or Skype) and social distancing measures and masking, there are options this year. It’s all about reducing expectations and focusing on what is possible — a glass half full approach.

(This post is updated from the 11/5/15 original.)