Surviving January Flu Season

With the new year upon us so is flu season. We wanted to share a great guest post from our friend Ali Dunn (see bio at conclusion of article) about some things you can do to help reduce your risk of flu this month. Happy Healthy New Year!

January is the peak of cold and flu season. A season that oftentimes feels like it will never end. The holidays are over and the isolation to avoid germs is in full effect. And some well-meaning family members (or sometimes not so well-meaning family members) may feel that your germ avoiding behavior is too extreme. I have always been a “germ-aware” person, but since having two preemies I have officially crossed over to “germ-phobic.” It’s hard not to be afraid of something that you cannot see, smell, or hear, and yet it can have devastating effects on the health and life of your baby. Cold and flu season can be a really challenging time for families with preemies and medically fragile kiddos. I am not a doctor, but here a few tips and tricks that help this preemie mom get through this tough season.

No Shoes in the House

“Would you mind taking off your shoes?” If I have said it once, I have said it a million times. I have a strict no shoes in the house policy. Not only does it keep dirt out and makes it a little easier to keep those floors clean, but it also helps with the spread of germs. 

Wipe Off All the Things

I love that so many stores now have sanitizing wipes available to disinfect carts. But don’t stop there. I wipe off everything! Tabletops, light switches, door handles, even library books (imagine how many little hands have touched those). I am also the person on the airplane that wipes down the seats and tray tables. 

Avoid Public Restrooms

Public restrooms are germy and it’s hard to keep little hands from exploring it all. So I just try to avoid them if at all possible. And if you must use one, wash everyone’s hands after.

Avoid High Traffic Times/ Events

Weekends are a great time to head out of the house for some family fun, but everyone else is out and about too. More people means more germs! If at all possible, I try to plan activities during off-peak hours. 

Wash Everyone’s Hands

This may seem like a no-brainer, but frequently washing hands is the best defense against getting sick. Cleaning hands before snacks and meals is easy to accomplish at home but things become a little more difficult when you are away from a sink. I typically use an alcohol-based sanitizer, but I am always hesitant to apply chemicals to little hands. Recently I found a great alternative that is made from clean, natural ingredients. Handzies are individually packaged wipes that are as close to soap and water as you can get when you are out and about.

As a preemie mom, I know all too well that you can do everything right, and things can still go wrong. Keeping everyone healthy during cold and flu season can lead you to feel isolated and overwhelmed. Make sure you reach out for support during this tough time. There are many online communities made up of other preemie parents who will totally understand. And on the bright side, connecting online is always germ-free!

Ali Dunn is the founder of MeTwo Books and the author of 4 children’s books: I Was a Preemie Just Like You, One of Two, A Twin Story about Individuality, I Needed the NICU Just Like You and The Career Explorer. Ali is the creator of an eCourse for parents She is the chief mom officer to identical twins born at 28 weeks. Find more information about her and her books at www.metwobooks.com, Twitter @me2books, Facebook @metwobooks, and Instagram @me2books.