Don’t ring in 2018 with the flu!

So… you probably guessed by the title.  I rang in 2018 with the flu.  Not exactly the night I had planned;)

But, there are two ways to look at this my friends.

# 1. How depressing! I can’t believe this is how I started 2018!

OR

#2. I’m SO glad I got that over with! 2018 only gets better from here!

I am choosing #2.  2018 is going to be a GREAT YEAR!!

While my body still feels exhausted, my mind has started moving  again, and it’s been asking “How did you get the flu when nobody in the family had it?”

Ok.  First confession – I did not get the flu shot.

 

I know. Next year.  I promise!  If you haven’t gotten the flu yet it’s not too late to get your flu shot. You might want to consider running to your doctor’s office or your local Walgreens or CVS.  Unfortunately the CDC is estimating this year’s vaccine is only about 10-30% effective, but that’s still far more helpful than my 0%.

I am usually very good about taking care of myself.  I go to bed at a decent time, eat well and am very active (although I admit not a regular exerciser) and I wash my hands often.  Certainly always before meals and when I get home from anywhere;)

However, the overwhelming schedule we all carry during the holiday season puts us at greater risk for infection.  Not to mention…

  • There are extra people living in our homes – kids (some with runny noses), parents, visiting friends (also with runny noses. LOL)
  • We have more meals to prepare so more trips to the grocery store – to touch that pristine cart handle (ugh!).
  • Marathon shopping trips, at indoor malls and stores (packed with people coughing and sneezing) to get all our holiday gifts for friends and family.
  • Late night wrapping.  I mean late…like early morning…you were there;)
  • Lots of work and family parties, with lots of new people to meet.
  • Shaking hands and hugging people who’ve traveled across the country (not to mention kids who may just have come home from a colleges with over 20,000 students – each.)
  • The list goes on…

It’s easy for Moms to forget about themselves at the holidays.  We’re so focused on getting everything done that sometimes we don’t remember the last time we had five minutes for the ladies room!

A few days before the flu hit I was running errands.  I’ll admit, I was probably a little too caffeinated  (Starbucks Pike’s Peak) to have been thinking clearly when I picked up those hard candies at the drug store. Um…drug store…sick people…walk in clinics…hmmm.   I unwrapped several pieces over a few hours and popped them into my mouth with my bare hands without even thinking about all the things I had touched – door handles, credit card screens and hanging pens, shopping carts…more…yuck.

So, its been 7 days since I first jumped aboard the flu train.  What started as a scratchy throat and a dry cough ended up including a lovely fever which left me feeling like I had been hit by a bus, for 48 hours, whenever the Tylenol Cold and Flu wore off.  (On a positive note -I did learn that you can take 2 TBSP of that delightful elixir every 4 hours, and not every 6, as I originally thought, but I digress.)

Now that I’m on the mend, and the experience is still fresh in my mind I thought it was a great time to write a post to remind myself, my kids, and anybody else out there willing to read this, about some of the things we can do every day, to at least try to avoid flu germs!

  1. Wash your hands before every meal – AND – before eating anything that requires you to touch it before you put it in your mouth – candy, gum, your retainer?
  2. Wash your hands every time you come back to the house from school or errands.  Even if you didn’t physically get out of the car – that steering wheel picks up a lot. (Have you wiped yours down lately? It’s worth five seconds.)
  3. Keep a small container of hand sanitizer in your purse or car for the times you can’t wash your hands.
  4. Get 8 hours of sleep if at all possible – even through the holidays.  Seems we all get sick a little more quickly when we are run down.
  5. Take an Emergen-c packet with 1000 milligrams of  Vitamin C once a week or when you feel a cold coming on.  Both my kids swear by it and keep a stash in their dorm rooms.
  6. Don’t forget to eat fruits and vegetables even when you’re busy.  Some of us will admit to a quick stop at a McDonalds or Chick-Fil-A drive through when we are pressed for time.  How about stopping at Chipotle for a veggie burrito bowl? Or a Panera for soup and salad instead? There are fast/faster food options that will give you a vitamin packed punch.
  7. Make some kind of soup with a chicken broth base during the busiest weeks of the holiday season – and after!  Chicken broth has been shown to shorten colds, even if doctors’ don’t understand exactly why.  The family might love a nice warm bowl of soup served with fresh french bread and cheese! Yum!
  8. Keep small packets of kleenex tissues in your purse along with some hand wipes.  Use them to open doors, especially if the person that touched that handle before you wiped their runny nose with their hand first.  (I got that tip from a nurse.)
  9. Consider taking a multivitamin during the holidays, or when you know you’re not taking care of yourself the way you should.  It’s not a perfect solution, but it can be helpful.
  10. It goes without saying…wipe down all surfaces in your house if you’ve had the flu.  Some of the areas we forget – light switches, TV remote controls, door handles, toilet handles, faucet handles.  Give everyone else a fighting chance to skip this party.

I will say, there’s nothing like feeling miserable with the flu, to make you appreciate feeling well on a normal day!  I think I studied that in college. Isn’t that “The Shadow Effect”?  My professor would be so impressed!

As we enter 2018 I’m feeling very grateful for my health, and for the health of my family and friends.  I am EXCITED for 2018!  We are blessed to be here, and I believe opportunities are all around us if we take the time to look for them.

I am toasting to your health today with some Tazo green tea!  Stay well friends!

XO

Kate

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