It happens each and every year. No, it’s not your birthday. Well that happens too, but that’s not the topic. It’s that oh-so-rude life interruption that comes every fall. We go about our business as usual and then some blimey news anchor reminds us that it’s Flu Season. UGH. It’s a reminder that it’s time to be on our ‘A’ game as far as avoiding that little bugger that cause such angst among us.
Well, I’m here now to impart of my wisdom to you. I’m knocking on wood here, but also letting you know that I’m in my 40’s and happy to say that I have NEVER had the flu. I hope that something I share today can help you claim that distinction for this year too.
Instead of just a list of things to do, I thought it a great idea to impart some wisdom from another realm. However, in my research (which consisted of consulting my 19 year old Star Wars guru son) I discovered that the flu does not exist in a Galaxy Far Far Away. However, The inhabitants of that galaxy do have lots to say about different aspects of this article, so I’ll include their commentary below.
The Star Wars
Guide to Commentary on Surviving Flu Season
Stay healthy: Our bodies are an amazing thing if we treat them right. They are designed to fight and destroy invaders. When we keep ourselves healthy by eating healthful foods that fuel our machines and exercise regularly our fighting force is kept in tip top shape. Avoiding stress also plays a roll here. Stress taxes our body and our fighting force is much less effective.
Hydrate: We hear this a lot in the summer months – hydrate, hydrate, hydrate – but it’s even more important in the winter months. Hydration keeps our outer defenses in place. If we allow our Shields (skin) to be compromised then the virus can enter more readily. Our Skin is our first defense, keep it solid and it will serve us well.
Hydrating in the winter is harder because our thirst mechanism is less keen when it’s cold outside. We just don’t feel thirsty so it must become a more conscious process to stay hydrated. Plan to keep 2 quarts of water in you at all times. After a few days of making this a habit, our bodies adjust to the new level of hydration by utilizing the water better and we aren’t running to the bathroom like we will the first couple of days.
If you feel the need to apply lotion to your hands often, that’s a good clue that your body is dehydrated. Drink!
Wash Hands: We tend to chant this mantra especially during flu season but that’s usually as far as it gets. The flu virus is airborne via droplets that are expelled when an infected person coughs or sneezes. Those little droplets land on EVERYTHING.
Even Uncle Owen knew that cleanliness is very near to godliness:
Unless our hands are in our pockets all day long we WILL pick some up when touching things like door knobs, elevator buttons, keyboards, light switches, telephones, toilet flushers, buttons on merchant card machines, shopping cart handles, etc. FREQUENT hand washing must become a habit.
Those little buggers aren’t crawling up under our fingernails and drilling their way through our skin. Nope, we get sick from touching things and then touching our face, eyes, mouths etc. Just take the next 30 minutes and count how often you touch your face area and you’ll be amazed.
Many of us spend time during the day where we aren’t able to run to a sink whenever we like. But we all can carry and USE hand sanitizer for those times when we can’t. Remember to stay hydrated because hand sanitizers contain alcohol and it can be very drying. As Darth Vader would say, “It is unwise to lower your defenses!” Keep your hands clean!
Social Distancing: Staying away from crowds and putting space between your mucous membranes and the potentially infected droplets of others is Social Distancing.
This is a tough one because we love to congregate for all sorts of reasons, especially during the holiday season, and sometimes we must for our work. Just being aware that a certain percentage of the people in your vicinity haven’t read this article and won’t be doing what they could to avoid the virus will go along way to sparing you from it.
You’ll start to notice the sickos in the elevator and then maybe decide to take the stairs instead. (That’s a more healthy choice anyway, see the first item above.) Although they should, sick people don’t stay home when they are sick most of the time. It might seem a bit rude but maybe think about NOT shaking hands during the flu season.
C3PO might have been better off maintaining a bit of social distancing from the Jawas. Am I right?
Cover your mouth: Did you hear your mothers voice when you read that? Mom’s are so smart. Covering your mouth helps contain your droplets from flying around the room. Growing up we were told to cover our mouths with our hands. That helps, but then the hand is covered with droplets, and since we touch so many things with our hands, that’s a problem.
A tissue covered hand is a great option but most of us don’t have a tissue at the ready. A better option is to cough or sneeze into your arm. It does look a little weird but pretend like you are trying to kiss your shoulder and you’ll have the correct sleeve-sneezing position.
Coughing or sneezing into the fabric of your sleeve contains the droplets much better than our hands. You tried kissing our shoulder didn’t you? Good job, practice makes perfect.
Stay home: Now if we’ve followed the above advise this one is a non-issue but if not…read on. Just stay home if you are sick. Our co-workers would thank us if they new the little ickies that we protected them from. We all have stuff to do, but the reality is that most of the time it will wait or someone else can do it. The world will keep on spinning if we take a couple days off work to stay home and keep our germs to ourselves and let our bodies recover from the foreign invasion.
If the first person with the flu just stayed home….There would be only one person with the flu that season. I realize that’s an oversimplified statement, but the person to person transmission would be cut down significantly. C3PO makes that declaration very clearly:
If the worst does happen, be prepared
Before flu season arrives, equip yourself with everything you would need if the worst happens and little Johnny brings home a flu bug. In a box, bucket, or other container, assemble products that will see you through 3 or 4 days of dealing with a family affair with the flu.
- Ginger ale for queasy tummies. Ginger is the key here, so make sure it’s a brand that actually contains ginger not just a flavoring.
- Sick People Food: chicken noodle soup, crackers, gelatin, possibly even broth or rice
- Gatorade or Pedialyte for dehydration
- An extra box or two of tissues and hand sanitizer
- Disinfectant spray and /or wipes
- Thermometer (Remember to disinfect it before putting it away!)
- Vomit bucket A drink pitcher can work well. Trash cans can be too big for little hands to hold, if you aren’t in the room when they need to use it.
- Kid’n Pets Stain & Odor Remover
- This will eliminate smells and stains associated with the flu, including vomit. My family uses this on a regular basis, and I’ve reviewed it here. The next time you’re at a Walmart, look for Stain & Odor Remover in a big white and yellow bottle in the cleaning products aisle.
Fortify your Defenses: For me this means boosting my immune system using essential oils (EOs) and other things like Vitamin C. Taking a multivitamin will also help our bodies have what they need to defend. There are many companies that sell different EO blends to combat germs. You can search those out, but I prefer to make my own blends.
You may have noticed that I haven’t mentioned getting a flu vaccine. That is a very personal decision that I’ll leave to each of you. I will say that In my 40 something years I’ve NEVER had the flu…and in those same years….well you can finish that thought.
Do your homework where vaccines are concerned and make the best decision for your family.
Princess Leah looks none too pleased at the needle headed in her direction.