This week finds us battling two ‘cold fronts’ (1) a nasal/respiratory assault along with (2) the stomach bug attack. You say we are being attacked from all directions and this house declares war on these germs! This is one sick house. Please note this is informative only and is not a substitute for medical advice.
Pre-children I was rarely ill and never with the stomach flu. Since having children my beautiful Petri dishes bring home a plethora of germs for us to fight off. I joke that the kids have really good Teflon and most cold/bugs just slide off them. I, on the other hand, feel like a rusty old frying pan and it just clings on.
The good news is I developed a few tricks to get us healthier faster and with less ‘mess’.
*Note* this post contains affiliate links where at no cost to you I may make a commission if you make a purchase.
Tips for All Colds & Flus
1) Banish the Hand Towel
Everyone knows washing our hands a lot is one of the top actions we can take to reduce spending and duration of being sick. We do all that work to wash our hands and then dry them off on a hand towel. Now ideally that hand towel should be germ-free if everyone has super washed their hands…but I am not willing to take that chance.
There are two alternatives we can go disposable with paper towels/napkins or we do more laundry with wash clothes instead of hand towels. Most days it does seem so much easier to use a roll of the select-a-size paper towel but it does seem wasteful and let’s face it there is a lot of cleaning it would be better suited for.
If you kept all of those small baby wash clothes they work great as one time dry and toss for wash hand towels. They don’t take up much room to store. Reusable cleaning clothes are also inexpensive, take up little room, and easy to wash and reuse.
2) Smart Thermometer…like Kinsa
I absolutely fell in love with the Kinsa thermometer when I saw it. While it is just a thermometer the app that goes with it allow me to track not only the temperature reading but also symptoms and medications.
The first time I went to the doctors’ office after tracking my daughters’ extended illness I was so prepared. With phone in hand, I swiped through all the symptom history but also my treatments thus far and what effects those had on her. Check out the US version here and the Canadian version here.
3) Oral Health for Physical Health
I pretty much always keep extra toothbrushes on hand and once an “outbreak” is done the old are tossed or bleached for cleaning tools. During the illness, I “wash” the toothbrushes with mouthwash just to reduce the bacteria. Not sure if actually works but I feel like I am contributing to our overall health.
The Stomach Bug Hacks
4) Layer, Layer, Layer & Magic Carpet
This last illness was a very ‘messy’ one but it does highlight the advantages of layering.
The first family Christmas where the twins were able to take part in both the festivities and the full access to all the food my cousin’s wife recommended layering the kids’ beds with multiple sheets and receiving blankets.
This last illness we covered the beds and couches with sheets, towels, blankets…and stripped back a layer whenever required. Plastic table clothes are also a good foundational option.
If you have any spare towels after covering up the beds and couches you may also benefit from layering them out in a path from the bed to the washroom especially across carpeted areas.
5) The Bucket
We have had a dedicated ‘yucky’ bucket for a long time now. Garbage pails come in handy when multiple crises erupt at the same time.
I was recently reading about using multiple layers of plastic bags in the pail to make clean up faster. Either way, a dedicated bucket from the dollar store is quite an asset. When not in use, clean and store cleaning supplies and extra wash clothes for the next outbreak.
Sinus & Throat
6) Netting Pot & Nasal Irrigation
I remember 9th-grade biology and learning all about the little hairs in our nose being the first line of defense to our overall health. I believe it was a Dr. Oz episode where I first saw a neti pot in use. I ordered my ceramic version right after that. I now have a second one in plastic for my travel.
From personal experience, the key to the process is breathing through your mouth and alternating nostrils. It avoids the whole feeling like you just snorted up water from a swimming pool, trust me on that one. It may seem a little awkward at first but with a little practice, it really is an effective way to clear up a sinus cold a lot faster. The kids do not like the neti pot…and they don’t like nasal irrigation kits like Hydrosense put it works. Hydrosense comes in different pressure streams as well as a drop solution for babies, so despite not being loved by children, they do their best to make it easier on parents. When my son is really congested he will even ask for it knowing he doesn’t like the process but appreciates the outcome.
If you are looking for a Neti Pot from the US check out these two ‘ceramic‘ and ‘plastic travel‘ and for a Hydrosense check out this one here. In Canada check out these two ‘ceramic‘ and ‘plastic travel‘ options and Hydrosense here.
7) Salt & Vinegar Potato Chips With Ginger Ale
This started when I was a teenager followed in my early twenties with vodka & cranberry juice is a health drink! However, unlike the cocktail, the salt & vinegar chips became a staple in my health care regime. Particularly because it works.
We don’t eat salt & vinegar chips normally but on the onset of a sore throat, that first scratchy feeling, I pick up a bag (usually Miss Vicky’s) and a bottle of Ginger Ale and snack away the feeling. The chips might sting a little on the way down but I swear they are ‘disinfecting’ on the way down.
It might not be chicken soup but salt & vinegar potato chips have a place in our medicine cabinet.
While there is no discounting the benefits of chicken soup, saltine crackers, BRAT, and plenty of sleep (which we did a lot of)….These hacks are used by our family to recover faster, minimize the spread of those pesky germs and get everyone back to normal as soon as possible. If your family is currently sick I wish you a quick return to healthy.
Check out my list of things to clean to reduce the spread of those pesky bugs. 12 Things to Clean After Illness: Quick Routine After Cold & Flu!