I recently came across a Facebook meme that defined mum flu as being exactly like normal flu except no one cares (it used slightly more colourful language, but you get the idea). It got me thinking about all the times I’ve been sick since having kids and how lying on the couch under a doona has been an impossible feat. First of all, it only takes my toddlers about three seconds to find me. Then there’s my job where getting everything done in part-time hours is already a challenge without factoring in a sick day.
While my husband and I are very non-1950s in our approach to parenthood and chores, his work requires him to travel a bit so if I don’t stay healthy, it’s impossible to keep our busy life chugging along. When it comes to coughs and colds, prevention is key. Here are some things you can do to help fend off those dreaded bugs.
1. Sanitise your hands.
Underneath the nappies, half empty snack containers and crumpled shopping receipts, you will always find hand sanitiser in my bag. Colds are spread by sneezing, coughing and hand contact, so when you can’t get to a bathroom to wash your hands with soap, hand sanitiser can help keep bugs at bay.
2. Keep the medicine cupboard stocked.
There is nothing worse than feeling the first ominous dry tickle and opening the medicine cupboard to find you are all out of cough medicine. Keeping a variety of medication on hand will save you the 1am trip to the 24-hour pharmacy where you will inevitably run into an ex-boyfriend while braless and wearing ugg boots.
3. Make friends with broccoli.
Eating lots of fruit and veggies will fill your body with the vitamins and minerals needed to keep you healthy and snot-free. So if it’s a cold night and a bowl of chocolate cake with double cream is calling your name, try to make sure your main course is packed with green leafy veggies.
Make friends with salad. Image: iStock
4. Stay hydrated.
Drinking water throughout the day is always a good idea. If, like me, you often find that it’s 12pm and you’ve yet to drink anything except a double-shot latte, there are some great free apps you can download to remind you when it’s time to put down the caffeine and befriend the H2O.
5. Get enough sleep.
Getting eight hours of snore time can be tough, especially when you have a demanding career and/or young kids. After putting my little ones to bed, I enjoy talking to my husband uninterrupted or catching up on my latest Netflix obsession. The problem is, it’s often close to midnight before I get to bed. Exhaustion can make it harder to fight off illness, so if you’ve had a few late nights in a row try to go to bed early.
Get some much needed ZZZ's. Image: iStock
6. Disinfect the house.
Every Winter my kids turn into crusty snot machines. Germs thrive on frequently touched items so when my boys are sick I try and disinfect their favourite toys, wipe down household surfaces more frequently than usual and pop their bed sheets and teddy comforters on hot wash.
If after doing all of the above, I still catch something, I try to avoid passing it on by staying at home. I take appropriate products to relieve my cough, cold or flu symptoms and wait for the relief to kick in. Then I grab a doona, get on the couch and hope that no one finds me.
What are your tips to stay healthy throughout the year?
Reference number: 2016-07-081
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