10 Important Tips to keep your Family Healthy
This brought me to thinking how I can keep my family healthy so they don’t get sick also.
Keeping my family healthy is very important to me, as I’m sure it is to you.
During the school year, children come home with just about every illness known to man! It feels like someone in the family is sick every week…
Unfortunately this makes it difficult on both the parents and children to keep up with work and school.
That’s why it’s so important to do what you can to keep your family healthy.
After I thought of where I could have gotten this cold from, I thought about how to keep my family healthy so they didn’t get sick too. And I came up with the following important tips on how to do just that.
1. Wash hands
According to the CDC, “Feces (poop) from people or animals is an important source of germs like Salmonella, E. coli O157, and norovirus that cause diarrhea, and it can spread some respiratory infections like adenovirus and hand-foot-mouth disease.
These kinds of germs can get onto hands after people use the toilet or change a diaper, but also in less obvious ways, like after handling raw meats that have invisible amounts of animal poop on them. A single gram of human feces—which is about the weight of a paper clip—can contain one trillion germs.
Germs can also get onto hands if people touch any object that has germs on it because someone coughed or sneezed on it or was touched by some other contaminated object. When these germs get onto hands and are not washed off, they can be passed from person to person and make people sick.” 
The CDC also states, “About 1.8 million children under the age of 5 die each year from diarrheal diseases and pneumonia, the top two killers of young children around the world.
Hand-washing with soap could protect about 1 out of every 3 young children who get sick with diarrhea and almost 1 out of 5 young children with respiratory infections like pneumonia.” 
So it’s important to wash your hands frequently with soap and water and teach your children to do the same! This is one of the best (and easiest) things you can do to keep your family healthy!
2. Eat healthy food
BPA (Bisphenol-A), preservatives, bromated vegetable oil, high fructose corn syrup….
There are so many additives, chemicals, and preservatives in our food here in the U.S. So it’s important you know what is going into your family’s body.
How to buy healthy food for your family:
- Read the ingredients on food labels
- Educate yourself so you know which ingredients are healthy and which aren’t
- Buy organic
- Buy local
3. Keep carpets and rugs clean
An article, Clean Your Carpets Because They Are Germ Hotspots by Michelle Manetti states, “Carpeting can be a great flooring option at home. It adds warmth, comfort and feels good on bare feet. But because of all the traffic it encounters, it tends to get pretty dirty over time. In fact, according to Men’s Health, it’s a germ hotspot and can be 4,000 times dirtier than your toilet seat — ew! “Rugs are botanical and zoological parks,” microbiologist Dr. Philip Tierno told the magazine, and mentioned that they can have many different organisms living in them.” 
Um, gross… However, there are ways to remove most of those allergens. Obviously, the best way to do that is to clean your carpet. You can do that by vacuuming frequently and either have your carpets professionally cleaned or thoroughly shampoo your carpets yourself with an antibacterial solution at least twice a year.
4. Teach your kids to use a tissue when they sneeze
An easy way to keep your family, and other people, healthy is to sneeze into a tissue.
When you sneeze into your hands, you’re obviously getting germs on your hands which are then transferred to whatever you touch.
ABC News did an experiment in 2014 to determine if sneezing into the air, your hand, elbow, or a tissue was better and how far the germs travel in each scenario. Here are the results:
- Sneezing into the air: the germs traveled up to 11 feet!
- Sneezing into hands: Many of the germs ended up in the participant’s hands. The germs that passed the hands traveled about 3.5 feet.
- Sneezing into elbow: Much of the germs got past the elbow and traveled up to 8.5 feet.
- Sneezing into a tissue: When the participant sneezed into a tissue, none of the germs left it.
Here is a video of the experiment:
5. Keep the bathroom and kitchen clean
Few areas in your home harbor more germs and bacteria than your kitchen and bathroom. In fact, most germs are found in the toilet bowl, bathtub, bathroom sink, kitchen drain & sink, and kitchen sponge. Keeping these bacteria breeding grounds clean will go a long way in keeping your family healthy.
- Toilet bowl: 3.2 million bacteria/square inch
- Bathtub (near drain): 119,468 bacteria/square inch
- Bathroom sink: 2,733 bacteria/square inch
- Kitchen drain: 567,845 bacteria/square inch
- Kitchen sink: 17,964 bacteria/square inch
- Sponge or counter-wiping cloth: 134,630 bacteria/square inch  (although, other sources have stated this number can be as high as 10,000,000/square inch).
For cleaning my kitchen, I use a spray bottle filled with ¾ water and ¼ bleach.
And for a good product to clean your toilet, I recommend reading, “How To Clean A Toilet + Which Cleaning Products Work Best On Toilets” written by Lynnette Walczak, she recommends Don Aslett’s Safety Foam Toilet Cleaner:
(The picture on her article is the same product and brand, just looks different)
6. Drink less energy drinks and soda
Energy drinks and soda have very high amounts of sugar, as well as many other ingredients that aren’t good for you.
Consequently, high consumption of soda and energy drinks can lead to health problems in both adults and children. To get more information on how soda affects your body, read my article, How Does Soda Affect Your Body?
Here is the infographic linked with that article:
Many people think energy drinks contain less sugar than soda.
Unfortunately that’s not true.
Many have the same amount and some have more sugar than soda. I debunked the idea that energy drinks contain less sugar than soda in my article, Top 5 Food Myths: Debunked, where I also include this chart:
7. Drink more water
Did you know water makes up more than 2/3 of your body weight? And if your body doesn’t get any water, you wouldn’t live more than a few days! Crazy right?!
According to APEC Water, “The human brain is made up of 95% water, blood is 82%, and lungs 90%. A mere 2% drop in our body’s water supply can trigger signs of dehydration: fuzzy short-term memory, trouble with basic math, and difficulty focusing on smaller print, such as a computer screen.” 
Therefore, it’s important to make sure your children understand why they need water and how it helps their body, and how much they need in order to stay healthy. When children know the importance of water, it will create healthy water drinking habits in the future.
In order to teach your children about the importance of getting adequate water, read this article for a few ideas.
And to see how much you know about dehydration – take my quiz.
8. Don’t smoke, especially around your children
Cigarettes and cigarette smoke are horrible for your health. Secondhand smoke is just as bad for your children.
You don’t have to smoke to get thousands of chemicals into your body; just breathing cigarette smoke can do that.
From my article, What’s REALLY in your Cigarette?, “Did you know every time you smoke, you are feeding your body over 4,000 different chemicals, 69 of them being known carcinogens (cancer-causing), and many of the chemicals also being poisonous…?
And, cigarette smoke is no better, according to chemists at R. J. Reynolds Tobacco Company, cigarette smoke is 10,000 times more concentrated than the automobile pollution at rush hour on a freeway.” 
9. Support your family’s immune systems
It’s so important to support your immune system and help your family support theirs’ too. Our immune system fights sicknesses and diseases.
Consequently, during the school year, families typically experience a number of colds. Keeping your family’s immune systems strong and healthy will help cut down on the amount and duration of those colds.
To support your family’s immune systems:
- Eat lots of fruits and vegetables
- Cut down on sugar
- Get the recommended amount of exercise
- Get outside
- Make sure you and your children get the recommended amount of sleep each night
- Wash your hands and help your children wash theirs too
- Don’t smoke, especially around your children
- If you have a newborn, breastfeed
- Take a daily multivitamin
- And find ways to cut down your family’s stress. Stress affects the body in many ways, including lowering the immune system’s ability to fight infection. You can read my article, 10 Ways Stress Affects Your Body for more information.
Adequate exercise is an important part of keeping your family healthy. Below are the recommendations for both adults and children.
According to the 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, to improve your health as an adult you need to do two types of physical activity each week. Those two types are aerobic exercise and muscle-strengthening/weight lifting.
The Department of Health and Human Services recommends healthy adults get:
At least 150 minutes/week of moderate aerobic activity
75 minutes a week of vigorous aerobic activity
Do strength training exercises at least twice a week
The CDC recommends children exercise for at least 60 minutes each day and get 3 different types of exercises per week: aerobic exercise, exercises for muscle-building, and bone strengthening exercises.
For aerobic exercise, the CDC says, “Aerobic activity should make up most of your child’s 60 or more minutes of physical activity each day. This can include either moderate-intensity aerobic activity, such as brisk walking, or vigorous-intensity activity, such as running. Be sure to include vigorous-intensity aerobic activity on at least 3 days per week.” 
For strengthening muscles, the CDC says, “Include muscle strengthening activities, such as gymnastics or push-ups, at least 3 days per week as part of your child’s 60 or more minutes.” 
And for healthy bones, the CDC recommends, “Include bone strengthening activities, such as jumping rope or running, at least 3 days per week as part of your child’s 60 or more minutes.” 
Exercise also enhances the immune system and reduces the risk of obesity and other healthy concerns.
Just another easy and fun way to keep your family healthy! 🙂
If you use additional ways to keep your family healthy and you would like to share, leave a comment below!
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http://www.cdc.gov/handwashing/why-handwashing.html  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/03/21/cleaning-carpet-germ-hotspot_n_2916850.html  http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/health/2014/01/27/sneezing-101-which-contains-germs-better-tissue-or-elbow/
http://www.webmd.com/news/20070625/top-spots-for-bacteria-at-home  http://www.freedrinkingwater.com/water-education/water-health.htm  http://www.healthfaithstrength.com/whats-really-in-your-cigarette/  http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/fitness/expert-answers/exercise/faq-20057916