December 27, 2011

5 Tips for Keeping Your Family Healthy All Winter

Family Circle magazine's December 2011 issue

Family Circle magazine's December 2011 issue

Family Circle magazine offers strategies to keep your family free of colds and flu all season.

Someone in our household has had a sniffly nose or cough for at least a month now, and we’re not really into flu season yet. Short of bathing everyone in Lysol every evening, I’m not sure how to maintain a germ-free family (which includes two preschoolers who seem to be constant carriers). I’m going to follow these tips from the December 2011 issue of Family Circle magazine on staying well during the cold months.

  1. Get regular exercise. If I’m searching for a reason to get out of bed on a cold, dark morning to exercise, here’s a great one. Research shows that people who exercise at least 20 minutes five days a week suffer from as half as many colds as those who only work out one or two days a week.
  2. Keep your hands off. Be aware of how often you touch your face, and try not to at all. Yael Halaas, M.D., an ear, nose and throat specialist in New York City, says even a quick eye rub can transmit cold germs easily.
  3. Cut the sugar. Fight colds and lose weight at the same time! A diet low in refined sugars strengthens the immune system and could potentially protect the body from colds and flu.
  4. Sleep tight. Aim for at least seven hours of sleep at night. A Carnegie Melon University study found that you’re three times more likely to catch a cold if you’re unrested.
  5. Wash up. Mom always told you to wash your hands, and she was right. Handwashing is the single most important preventative measure you can take. And if your kids are like mine and always complain the water is too warm, good news: A lukewarm rinse kills just as much bacteria.

About the Author

Shannon McRae
Shannon McRae
Shannon McRae is a work-at-home mom of three young children whose days are spent wiping mouths, playing Candyland, planning dinners and stealing time in between at the computer for her freelance writing. She's a stickler for healthy eating, with a slight exception for Oreos. She lives in Alabama with her precious children, loving husband and 13-year-old Australian Shepherd named Ricky Martin.