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Trying to avoid germs – how do you do it?

It seems like there is so much going around this time of year – flu, stomach bugs, upper respiratory junk….

Right now, dd2 and now ds are down with a stomach virus and I am on lysol patrol – spraying and wiping down door knobs, light switches, drawers, sinks, etc.  Dh and I are supposed to be going to Vegas at the end of this week, so I am keeping my *fingers crossed* that we don't catch it and that it's gone soon (so that my parents don't bail on us for watching the kids). 

What do you do to try to stay healthy when there is so much going around?

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  • K8sMom2002

    , Jen! Lysol is something I just can't do with my lungs. But I do use a bleach solution as long as it's well ventilated and my lungs cooperate. According to the CDC just 5 tablespoons of bleach in a gallon of water will help clean up surfaces of . 

    I also use alcohol and peroxide, but these don't have the blue ribbon stamp of approval by the CDC — although the CDC does say that alcohol will work to clean some multi-use items like thermometers. To make it easier, I just screw a spray nozzle directly onto a bottle of 70% alcohol. Here's more on what the CDC says about .

  • Jen

    My girls do complain about my lysol patrols lol, but it does seem to be doing the trick.  The 2 sick kids are on the mend and no one else seems to be sick. *fingers crossed* I use lysol on a lot of the surfaces, but use clorox wipes on things like phones, microwave, light switches.  I think the wipes would work well on most surfaces.

  • Jen

    @GigiGibson - I know that you use masks.  Which ones do you use?

    @Brian Cushing - We've also been upping our hand sanitizer use since we have 2 sick kiddos.

  • Kathy P

    I'm a little panicked….Ts bff is down with the flu! Ugh! Friend has been out of school since last Friday and still really sick. I'm just crossing my fingers that T doesn't get it!

  • K8sMom2002

    Kathy P, I hope T doesn't come down with it. Is he able to take a flu shot every year? 

    Gigi, thanks for the name of the mask … a friend of mine was talking about having an asthma attack from sweeping and cleaning a building they use for big gatherings of friends and families. I was telling her about how I've heard masks can really help. 

  • Kathy P

    He has never had a flu shot….and he's only had the flu one year when 3 out of 4 of us (me and the kids) got the flu. That was the year flu hit before many had even been immunized. Since he has an auto-immune disorder, we (includes his pedi and allergist/immunologist) weigh the risks and tend to be very conservative.

  • Jen

    Hope everyone is managing to stay healthy!  DD2 and DS went back to school today.  No one else seems to have come down with the stomach virus.  Phew..

  • Melanie Carver

    Everyone (but me) is sick at my house, so I've wrapped my face with a scarf and am carrying hand sanitizer holstered to my side.

    We all got the flu shot and I don't think the sickness they all have is flu, anyway. But whatever it is, I don't want it.

  • GigiGibson

    Lol. It's not funny but I have a visual of you in a floral scarf with sanitizer tied on to your side! Pics please!

  • Kathy P

    Sending Lysol  (or disinfectant of choice!)

    We are still doing OK. My biggest issue is that I can't seem to break the habit of touching my face. I've realized that I constantly have my hands at my face! 

  • Jen

    *knock wood* – it's been well over 48 hours since either dd2 or ds has vomited and no one else has come down with it.  I'm just hoping that dh and I don't get it before we get on a plane bright and early tomorrow.  I think we may be out of the woods.  

  • Mandy

    Hand washing. A lot. It saved my skin on our last round of colds and gastro. Knock on wood. That and cleaning like crazy. I can't do chemicals so I use vinegar and a sage, Melaleuca, etc blend cleaner. It seemed to work really well. I use Norwex and Melaleuca products at the moment and love them!

  • K8sMom2002

    Ugh … I just checked Georgia's flu surveillance this AM, and apparently our whiplash weather has brewed a spike in flu cases. I'm dreading going grocery shopping this evening because it will be just my luck to wade through a lovely brew of sick people's coughing. 

    But maybe not! And Kroger does provide wipes to wipe down the shopping cart handles. And I'll make it a point to get lots of green leafy produce and garlic and onions in my diet for the rest of the winter. My mom swore by that.

  • Kathy P

    Ugh…T's buddy from school who had the flu came back to school before all his symptoms were gone. As in not fever free for 24 hrs. Guess who has the flu….

    At least 2 of us have the flu….what I thought was allergies on Sat morning was likely flu symptoms starting. When I got home from some errands, da boy informed me that he was sick. Later that night, I was feeling pretty bad. Dragged da boy to weekend peds on Sunday where they did a flu swab and gave him an Rx for Tamiflu anyway since the test is only about 75% accurate. Got the call later that he's positive for Influenza Type A. Yippee! Called my doc early this morning to ask her to call in Tamiflu for me. The respiratory symptoms are not terrible for me, but T is coughing and sounds really tight. I keep offering him an albuterol inhaler, but he's "not there yet." Meanwhile, I'm continuing to take it preemptively.

    We are pushing fluids and both pretty miserable. So far, dh isn't showing any symptoms and he's keeping his distance.

  • Jen

    We managed to avoid anyone else getting sick with the stomach virus.  With the flu potentially going around now, I need to push a little more handwashing with my kids (some of them are, ahem, better about it than others ).  At a minimum, I am keeping hand sanitizer readily accessible.  

  • K8sMom2002

    One thing that we try to do is limit the fallout if someone IS sick. For instance, when I was sick with that dreadful bout of pneumonia earlier this year, I would get DH or DD to get things from our freezer, since the bug that started it off, a para-influenza virus, can hang around indefinitely in freezing temps. I didn't want to breathe into our freezer and "incubate" the stuff. 

    We noticed a definite drop-off in colds and other common illnesses when we got our first ice-and-water-through-the-door type of fridge some years ago. 

    We also try to limit what the sick person touches as far as food prep — like yesterday, DD came in and said she felt "funny" and had been "cold all day" and that she hoped she wasn't coming down with whatever everyone at school seemed to have. So I made sure that I sliced the quesadillas that I'd cooked for supper — well, the first one. She cut the second one, so if she's sick, I may get it after all.

  • Mandy

    I don't have a handle on it but have been reading a lot about the effects our diet and functioning of the gut and how it affects our immune system. If I can figure out how to link some info I will. I just know that along with having uncontrolled asthma, I have issues with my stomach (probably inherited,  dietary,  and medication induced). I just know from personal experience, that when I am eating poorly or not enough I get run down and it starts the sick cycle. No dieting for this cat I also use a ton of supplements and vitamins but this is so individual that I don't want to list them.

    With the kids, my GP told me to use vitamins and Vit C. I swear it works to nip things in the bud. And I try to remember them daily but my days have a tendency to blur.

  • Shea

    Oranges. And Grapefruits. Always washing hands with soap and water before eating. Teaching all who live with you to do the same. Oh, and, at the first sign of sore throat, chop garlic cloves into pill sized pieces  and swallow. Also, gargle with salt water. Those are all my tricks that have helped greatly. 

  • K8sMom2002

    Good diet is important for everyone's health! And rest and sleep!

    Shea, one of the times I got the absolute sickest was when I DIDN'T wash my hands before eating. I was working with my boss, and we were doing a series of community meetings with absolutely no time to eat in between. We'd picked up fried chicken tenders and I was starving. He'd eaten his lunch, but it was 4 p.m., and I hadn't. So while he was giving the talk, I hung out in the back of the library meeting room where we were and ate those chicken tenders — couldn't leave the room because he might need me, and I hadn't thought to bring hand sanitizer. I'd shaken hands with hundreds of people that day.

    You guessed it — I got a cold the next day or so, which turned into horrible bronchitis. After that I made sure I at least had hand sanitizer and never ate again without washing my hands. 

    Could it have been that someone just breathed on me during the course of that long, long day? Yeah, but it is far more likely that I got it because I didn't follow the rules I'd always insisted my DD use! Lesson learned!

  • K8sMom2002

    Yikes … I heard this morning on the radio that flu activity in Georgia is widespread and has doubled from its baseline of about 2% to 4%. Even though we've all had our flu shots, I'm going to put extra effort into wiping things down and making sure EVERYONE washes their hands when they walk into my kitchen (yes, DH, I am talkin' to you …)

    I have to admit, I was an uncharitable neighbor over the weekend. DD said a friend of hers was feverish, aching and generally unwell and had asked her to bring her some soup or food. I told DD, "Uh, hopefully her folks will do that for her, because it sounds like the flu!" 

    I do wish more people would understand that and help not just them, but people who AREN'T able to take flu shots for medical reasons.

  • Jen

    I thought about this thread this morning when ds's bus came to pick him up.  The driver said they have a couple kids out today (and there are only a handful on this bus) and said she thinks at least one of them has the flu.  Time to crank out the lysol, hand sanitizer, etc.

  • Jen

    No flu, yet, *knock wood*, but dd1 did stay home from school yesterday.  She seems to have a cold and was just feeling wiped out.  No fever, but I figured she could use a day of rest.  She seemed to have more energy and be feeling better, so she went back today.  I feel like I have a little post nasal drip/congestion going on, so I used my  this morning to try to flush out whatever may be in there.  Not sure if it's related to what my dd has or if it's from all of the stuff blooming.  Either way, I want to try to avoid major congestion.

  • K8sMom2002

    Hope you'll escape the bad bugs, Jen! Both DD and I have managed to escape whatever crud DH had sometime back. I totally credit our insane obsession with washing hands — and even DD would snatch things out of her dad's hands and say, "Nuh-uh! You're sick." Maybe NOT the most respectful way for her to be, but neither of us likes how asthma + upper respiratory infections turn out with us.

  • Serene

    I try to wash my hands frequently and to avoid touching my face without doing so. I find allergies are helped by washing my face as well especially after going outdoors.

    I always get my vaccinations early in august to avoid the plague of colds that afflict workers when colder weather hits. My Pulmologist says vaccinations even if they do not prevent the flu, can help lessen the symptoms of cold and seasonal illness.

    Vitamin D also can help you prevent illness. As many do not get enough when cold weather hits.

  • Serene

    Oh, one other thing I've read that is helpful, is to gargle more. I read a study that suggested that even just gargling with plain water more frequently and spitting it out can lower your chances of contracting a respiratory infection. I keep a small bottle of mouthwash in my car, and if I'm exposed to someone who sounds really sick, when I get to the car, I gargle.  I think that can help.

  • GigiGibson

    We had a pulmonologist that I worked with who had his copd patients gargle 20seconds or more 2-3 x day routinely. He also had them get on tumeric-cucumin. I can't handle it anymore but I used to gargle whenever I would wake up in the middle of the night to kill night mouth bacteria as I call them, lol. 

  • Eric E. Viereck, Jr.

    I always get the flu vaccine especially since I'm working at a grocery store and you can't have the products being contaminated with someone germs. Plus always wash your hands every twenty seconds, my recommendation is getting the Antibacterial Hand Soap.

  • Jen

    Hi Eric,

    Welcome to AAFA's asthma support forum..  Good ideas about getting the flu shot and handwashing.  Do you find that keeps you from catching colds, flu, etc?

  • K8sMom2002

    Hi, Eric and … very good point about the flu shot! Has your doctor suggested that you get a pneumonia vaccine as well? Mine did.

    AAFA has some information about the . 

    And the :

    Each year in the United States, pneumococcal disease causes thousands of infections, such as meningitis, bloodstream infections, pneumonia, and ear infections. Pneumococcal vaccines are very good at preventing severe disease, needing treatment in the hospital, and death.

  • Kathy P

    Interesting about the gargling – I've never had that suggested to me.

    We do do "turmeric shots" here – lemon, ginger and turmeric w/ a touch of pepper!

  • GigiGibson

    I saw a little thing on Pinterest or fb yesterday like that but with a little honey and raw cider vinegar too. Think I might make a little jar of that too

  • Kathy P

    I used to mix it up then put it in a bottle in the fridge. But I've found that the frozen cubes work better for us and I'm cleaning up fewer yellow stains on my counter!

    I do a lot of raw vinegars – I make my own with fruit scraps. My last batch was pineapple and I currently have apple brewing.

  • K8sMom2002

    That turmeric is a hard stain to get out! 

    Serene, that IS interesting on the gargling. It reminded me of an article I read recently about the . WebMD talked about something similar on its article about the . 

    Admittedly I'm not one to miss flossing or brushing or the twice annual dental cleaning, and I've tried to teach DD that, too. But my DH? He's JUST now figured out that it's better if you go to the dentist to PREVENT problems.

    How's everyone doing on germ patrol? We've had wild swings with the temps (it's 42 degrees and raining outside right now, after several days of beautiful spring weather, so I know we're going to see an explosion in colds and other crud since people will have all jammed inside where it's warm and dry.

  • Jen

    My kids have all battled a cold at some point over the last couple weeks.  DD1 stayed home one day last week and DD2 one day this week – no fevers, but they really needed some extra rest.  DD3 and DS only had some mild symptoms.

  • GigiGibson

    My hubby was sick since Monday. He had fever and sore throat. He's been in the upstairs bedroom and he masks downstairs in passing. I changed my sheets when he first got sick and vacated. God bless him. He was better today and he masked up right after eating. He's so worried about me, I am blessed with a gem. Of course if I'm down again he has his hands full, lol. Smart man. 

    Im still masking in public due to so many sick ppl here in NC. 

    I need to sanitize again, that will be my Friday night I guess. 

  • Eric E. Viereck, Jr.

    Luckily I already got my pneumonia vaccine when I young plus I got other vaccines as well like the tdap. If I'm down with the cold, I drink fluids like water or Gatorade, then I take allergy pills or Tylenol. 

  • K8sMom2002

    Hugs, Gigi … when my DH came down with some sort of cold or The Crud-Lite as we joked about it, he got NO kisses or hugs til he got well.

    Both DD and I were on high alert. We:

    • made sure he washed his hands.
    • prepared his plate for him at meals 
    • wouldn't let him touch any food that wasn't to be cooked — cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, bread. If it wasn't going to be cooked, or if it involved food that could be eaten raw (like cutting a slice of cheese and then putting the food back in the fridge), he didn't come near it.
    • gave him a break from unloading the dishwasher, setting the table or "getting the ice out" as we call preparing glasses for iced tea. 
    • used separate towels and paper towels

    It's a wonder he EVER got well again with so many incentives to kick back and take it easy!

    I hope the sanitizing goes well. And on changing the sheets … that's the FIRST thing I do when someone gets sick. A lot of times, the comforter goes in the wash, too! 

    , Eric on getting protection! I will add that there are actually , and while each has some overlap, they are different.

    How long has it been since you've battled a cold? 

  • Jen

    Gigi – *fingers crossed* that you don't catch dh's crud.

    Erik – I do similar things here.  Have you managed to steer clear of germs this winter?  

  • Eric E. Viereck, Jr.

    I'm trying steer clear of them because in my area we had a snow storm. I always wash my hands and make sure my house isn't infected. Sometimes I'll feel under the weather, but then my immune system fights back along with my medicine, I also have seasonal allergies with my asthma.

  • Jen

    Do you take medicine for your seasonal allergies?  What do you do to deal with 

  • K8sMom2002

    Eric, I wish DD could take flonase! She can't because of another health issue. But she does take Zyrtec daily.

    We found with DD that taking regular medicine for her seasonal allergies seemed to reduce the number of times she had bronchitis or sinus infections. I think for her (and for me) any cold or upper respiratory infection tends to clog everything up, create post nasal drip and more mucus, and set the stage for everything to move south from the head to the chest. Ugh!

    Do you see an increase in colds and "the crud" whenever you have a snowstorm or really cold weather? And on washing hands!

    And what are your other key ways to make sure your house isn't infected? 

  • Jen

    @Eric E. Viereck, Jr. How are your spring allergies treating you?  Seems like things have been a bit warmer (at least around here), so more stuff blooming.  Any other crud that seems to be going around?

  • Eric E. Viereck, Jr.

    Well my allergies are starting to come back so I'm taking my medicine every night to treat them. The weather this time around is very wet due to the rain and my friend recently told me most of his coworkes are getting the flu.

  • K8sMom2002

    Eric, I'll bet when you heard your buddy tell you that most of his co-workers are getting the flu, you were extra-glad you always get the flu vaccine!

    Do you just take your allergy meds when you have symptoms? Just curious … DD takes her meds year round, but then, she pretty much is allergic to something year round.

  • K8sMom2002

    Oh, I see! Makes sense! What's the most challenging part of working in a grocery store and keeping well? Do you see a lot of sick customers?