As we are about to enter into this wonderful Holiday season: Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah, New Year’s and more we need pay serious attention to our health and what our impact is on those around us. We are going to be exposed to more people, more stores, be in schools and churches more: protect yourselves, your families and others by just a few small changes that will help reduce your chances of getting sick.

1. Wear gloves or carry anti-bacterial wipes with you while shopping. Avoid touching cart handles, door handles and the worst i the credit/debit card machines. I watched a woman in front of me in line at the grocery store cough into her hands, wipe her mouth and nose with the hands she just coughed into and then touched the buttons on the machine and then used the attached pen thing!!! ARGH I am not a germaphobe but I have to tell you that is not only gross it is a certain way to give the gift that keeps on giving all day long! I haven’t touched one with bare hands since!

2. If you or your kids are sick do not take your kids out to the store or anywhere else. Seriously! Stay out of church, schools and stores!! For all those times that you turned down offers of help, now is the time to say yes. Ask someone to go to the store and get the meds or food or anything else you need. They can leave it on the doorstep! 

3. Wash all produce that is exposed when bringing it home from the store – imagine the same lady from the credit card machine choosing apples… picking one up looking at it and putting it down and then again. Then you are the person that comes up next, chooses her reject apple go home and eat it without washing it! YUCK! Again, don’t be crazy about this but be SMART about it too!

4. Keep your remotes, light switch plates, door knobs, computer keyboards and phones wiped down daily! This may seem extreme but seriously this can make a huge difference. You can use anti-bacterial wipes, lysol, plain alcohol and a rag, vinegar, plain soap and water. 

5. Swish and Swipe every day at least once!! Counters, toilet, faucet handles, toilet seat and toilet handle.

6. You do not need fancy wipes or cleaners. A good old fashioned cheap bottle of rubbing alcohol or vinegar will work just fine. Plain old soap will do the job too. Don’t put off doing something because you think you don’t have the “right” product. Don’t go crazy on tons and tons of anti-bacterials and be careful of young children being over exposed to the gels and wipes – remember they are all alcohol based.

7. Wash your pillowcases regularly in hot water. Don’t sleep on the fancy pillow shams and super pretty cases during this season. Use the plain no frills ones that can be washed in hot water and do it often. Especially if you are sick!! When was the last time your pillows were washed? At minimum toss them in the dryer on high heat for a few minutes to kill some of the germs. We are breathing and drooling on the pillows for many hours a day – this is important!

8. Put a splash of alcohol on toothbrushes and handles and rinse. Think about this one for a few minutes and you will understand why. You stick the same thing in your mouth several times a day, then stick it in a communal cup or cabinet. Wash them!

9. Elevator buttons (number one is the germ-iest button because it is the most used), office/church/school coffee pot handles, escalator/stair handrails and shopping carts are the worst culprits!! Try to avoid directly touching them at all costs! Use a napkin when handling public condiments like salt shakers or ketchup bottles. Many places are doing the very best to keep these clean but as we are headed into one of the biggest shopping days of the year – be safe!

10. Do your very best to keep your hands away from your face. Don’t rest your face on your hands, wipe your nose with your hand, put your fingers in your mouth (chewing your nails is a sure fire way to deposit germs straight into your mouth), touch your eyes etc. To give you a perspective on this – would you lick the hand of every person that has touched the door handle to the grocery store? Keep your hands out of your mouth!! 

11. Consider that everyone that enters your home wash their hands upon entering, if you have anyone living in your home that is in the risk category for flu this is especially important. Don’t feel bad about offending anyone – it is your home!! Place anti-bacterial gels around as well. Don’t have a community hand towel in the bathroom – use a stack of washcloths for hand drying and have a basket for them to go into. That way each person has their own or use a roll of paper towels lined with a bag to easily toss. Remember sing the entire song of Happy Birthday while using soap and warm water to really get a good washing.

These are just some small things that you can do that are not hard to help keep some of those germs at bay. You can’t avoid all germs but you can take some precautions that will help you and others. We want everyone to be careful and be safe! Make sure that you have supplies on hand before you or one of your loved ones gets sick. Tea, tissues, meds, soups, etc. Don’t be surprised, Be Prepared!

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