Yesterday, 75 kids were home sick from my son’s school, and another ten were sent home early due to illness. The flu has hit our area…hard.
So far (fingers crossed), we have not been been struck down. But the fear of it almost makes me tempted to head out for Lysol, Purell, and a Costco-sized supply of tissues.
If you feel the same, before you do that, please read on for some better alternatives – that work just as well, cost less, and are safer for your home, your family, and the environment.
First, wash your hands, wash your hands, wash your hands. Simple hand washing with warm soap and water throughout the day (experts recommend about 10-12 times per day) is your single best way to prevent illness.
Use Natural Hand Sanitizers – most hand sanitizers contain antibacterial agents that cause more harm than good. They can lead to antibiotic resistance and the creation of superbugs. Soap and water are usually all anyone needs to get the job done. If you want to send your kids to school with a hand sanitizer, there are lots of good natural ones using a simple solution of alcohol and natural fragrances. I carry this EO Hand Sanitizing Spray in my purse. It smells great, is all organic, and kills germs. You can also make your own hand sanitizer at home – no harsh chemicals required.
Stop germs at the front door. As soon as you enter the house, take off your shoes and head straight to the sink to wash your hands with warm water and soap. Stop the bugs before they get in.
Put down the disinfectant sprays – Instead of exposing your family to potential toxins, try homemade solutions. A simple vinegar and water (50/50 mix) solution does have antimicrobial properties. Various studies have found that store-bought vinegar (a 5 percent acetic acid), in combination with table salt or hydrogen peroxide, can inhibit the growth of some strains of E. coli and is an effective mold killer.
But for fighting the flu virus specifically, it’s safer to go with Chlorine bleach. Ordinarily, I wouldn’t recommend the use of chlorine bleach, due to the potential health and environmental problems. However, when it comes to controlling flu, it’s a proven winner, and you’re better off going with a diluted chlorine bleach solution than a pre-made disinfectant like Lysol. Lysol and other over-the-counter cleaners are not required to disclose their ingredients, many of which may be harmful to your family and the environment. But when you mix a homemade bleach solution, you’ll know exactly what’s in it. You can also reduce bleach’s health and environmental impact with these steps:
- Don’t make it too concentrated. Look for a concentration of 5 to 10 percent to reduce your chances of experiencing respiratory and skin irritation.
- Always dilute it. You don’t need much bleach to kill the flu virus. Just one-quarter cup of bleach in a gallon of water, or one tablespoon per quart, is all you need to disinfect surfaces.
- Make small batches and use right away. Bleach solutions have the most potency when mixed right before they’re applied.
- Never mix with other cleaners…like ever. Chlorine bleach could react with unlisted ingredients in commercial cleaners, like ammonia, to form toxic fumes.
The best defense is a good offense – healthy food, lots of water and rest. These are the keys to building up immunity to help you not get sick in the first place, or at least minimize flu symptoms and duration of the illness.
Hoping you and your family make it through flu season without getting struck down, and without bringing hazardous chemicals in your house. Fight the flu…naturally.