President Obama has already declared the H1N1 virus a national emergency and U.S. health officials say the virus is now widespread in 46 states. Couple this with a shortage of the vaccine for the so-called "swine flu" and you may be worried about keeping your family healthy this winter.
First of all, don’t worry. Health experts say there are many things people can do to boost their immunity and fight both the seasonal flu and the H1N1 strain.
A recent study finds that regular, moderate exercise can help keep you and your family healthy. According to Reuters, researchers at Iowa State University say that keeping active has been shown to reduce the severity of symptoms and the duration of the virus in an animal study. They believe exercise can help humans fight the flu as well.
An important parenting advice tip is to teach your children to regularly and thoroughly wash their hands. Have soap and step stools available at every sink to make this easier for smaller children. According to the Centers for Disease Control, scrubbing hands with soap and warm water for 20 seconds is the most effective way to kill germs and avoid spreading infectious diseases. Keeping an alcohol-based hand rub or wipes in the car is an easy way to kill germs while you’re out and about.
Studies have also found certain vitamins, minerals and herbs to help boost the immune system. Vitamins C and D as well as zinc, echinacea and probiotics are among some of the most commonly-used. Check with your children’s pediatrician to see if taking supplements or changing your family’s diet could help you all stay illness-free this season.