- According to both the CDC and WHO, the most effective way to stay healthy during this time of year is to get vaccinated for both COVID-19 and flu.
- Washing hands, socially distancing, disinfecting regularly and staying home when you are sick are some of the best ways of keeping your family and others flu and COVID free.
'Tis the season — Flu and COVID-19 season, that is. It has never been more vital to stop the flu and the spread of COVID-19 by getting your family’s immune systems in tip-top shape now. Whether you are single, have children at home, or looking to visit extended family during flu season, many of the same things that aid in flu prevention (along with other viruses) also can help keep COVID at bay.
According to both the CDC and WHO, the most effective way to stay healthy during this time of year is to get vaccinated for both COVID-19 and flu, and you also have a few natural ways to boost immunity this season. Here are 10 ways from scientific to holistic perspectives.
1. Wash Hands (Very) Often
Get hyper-vigilant about your family’s hand-washing habits. Runny noses will soon be running rampant, which means germs are everywhere, especially at places like daycare and playgrounds. Carry disinfectant (you may opt to pick a brand without tons of chemicals) and be a hand washing stickler.
How to properly wash hands per CDC Guidelines: follow these five steps every time:
- Wet your hands with clean, running water (warm or cold), turn off the tap, and apply soap.
- Lather your hands by rubbing them together with the soap. Lather the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails.
- Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds. Need a timer? Hum the “Happy Birthday” song from beginning to end twice.
- Rinse your hands well under clean, running water.
- Dry your hands using a clean towel or air dry them.
2. Get Vaccinated and Ensure You Are Up to Date on Your Family’s Flu Shots
It’s never too late to get vaccinated for COVID-19 or find your nearest location for your family’s annual flu shots. Many pharmacies and urgent care centers even offer free flu shots. A yearly flu vaccine is the first and most important step to prevent flu viruses. You can find the nearest location offering free COVID-19 vaccines near you and schedule an appointment online, by phone, or text message.
3. Regularly Clean and Disinfect Frequently
Don’t forget that the viruses can live on common surfaces that we touch frequently throughout our day, and according to the CDC, this is an easy way to help prevent the spread of the flu virus. Always remember to disinfect your personal items like phones, iPads, and computers, along with household surfaces like countertops, doorknobs, and light switches — not just once a day, but throughout your day to stop the flu.
4. Monitor Your Health and Well-Being Daily
Warning signs prior to getting sick: according to the CDC flu viruses and COVID-19 may have similar symptoms presented differently in family members. It is best practice to monitor body temperatures and if anyone develops flu or COVID-like symptoms along with a cough, or shortness of breath. It is recommended to follow CDC guidance.
The CDC has also provided a Coronavirus Self-Checker if you believe you are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19. Solv provides access to resources for the closest medical providers from a walk-in clinic, urgent care, or pediatric urgent care.
5. Be Socially Responsible by Keeping Your Distance and Hands To Yourself
If you (or a family member) are not feeling well, call in takeout and plan for a movie night. It is helpful to avoid public places where you could possibly spread the flu or COVID viruses—it is better to be safe than sorry during this season.
Flu season starts at the onset of the holidays-the time of year that should be spent close with those we hold near and dear, but this year we need to take extra precautions when it comes to covering our mouth and touching our eyes. A best practice is to always have a mask in tow and try to maintain social distancing when possible.
If you are fully vaccinated, you and your family can do many things safely. However, as of July 17, 2021, the latest CDC guidance on masking for fully vaccinated individuals is as follows, particularly with the prevalence of the Delta variant:
- Wear a mask in indoor public spaces if you are in an area of potentially higher transmission.
- Wear a mask if you have a weakened immune system or are at increased risk for severe disease.
- Wear a mask if someone in your household has a weakened immune system, is at increased risk for severe disease, or is unvaccinated.
- Wear a mask when required by local regulations, including business and workplace guidance.
6. Get into Elderberry Syrup
Elderberry syrup, which you can find at most health food stores (or make yourself), is packed with immunity-boosting compounds, antioxidants, and Vitamin C. And it’s even something you can drizzle on your kids’ pancakes. Like any homeopathic remedy, be sure to check with your pediatrician first about the right dosage.
7. Get a Lot of Rest, Exercise, and Fluids
These are the basic foundations for maintaining health—and it’s important your family get a healthy dose of all three this time of year. So, take away that tablet and send them outside to play. If you live in colder climates, you may choose to enroll your kids in a class like gymnastics or ice skating. You can also engage in some indoor exercise (like a dance party, hula hooping, or DIY Olympics) and especially now with COVID on the rise, some outdoor activities for the family.
Avoid over-packing their days by giving them plenty of recharging downtime. Prioritize sleep (The National Sleep Foundation has some good guidelines to follow), and make sure they’re drinking plenty of water and fluids.
8. Say No to Sugar
As a blanket statement, a lot of sugar is never ideal for your family’s health. Our bodies have trillions of good kinds of bacteria that help protect us from germs or diseases. But when kids (or anyone, for that matter) consume sugar in excess, it can alter the balance between the good and bad bacteria—which can takea toll on the immune system. So, limit the sweet foods within your household.
9. Introduce Probiotics and Fermented Food
Speaking of healthy, immunity-boosting bacteria, a great way for your family to get more of it is to integrate probiotics into their diet. For example, kefirs and some types of yogurts (choose a low-sugar option) are a good option, as are fermented foods like sauerkraut and pickled vegetables.
10. Sip on Some Bone Broth
Bone broth is a top health craze, endorsed by nutritionists and celebrity influencers alike. And for good reason. It’s rich in minerals (from the bone marrow) that support the immune system. It’s best to make yours from scratch (using an actual bone) to get the full nutritional benefit. Adding noodles or pasta to the broth can help make it more appetizing for your kids.
While you can never completely safeguard your family against the flu or COVID-19, these tips may improve everyone’s chances of staying healthy. In the unfortunate event that someone in your family this season does experience flu or COVID-like symptoms—you can quickly make an appointment with a local, reputable doctor on Solv.
- Health Habits to Help Protect Against Flu (2021)
- When and How to Wash Your Hands (2021)
- When You’ve Been Fully Vaccinated (2021)
- How to Protect Yourself & Other (2021)
- Choosing Safer Activities (2021)
- How Do I Find a COVID-19 Vaccine? (2021)
- Coronavirus Self-Checker (2021)
- How Much Sleep Do Babies and Kids Need? (2020)
- Fully vaccinated? Here’s what you can start doing again safely (2021)
Solv has strict sourcing guidelines and relies on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, and medical associations. We avoid using tertiary references.