The flu is here with a vengeance. Most of us already take general precautions to avoid illness, but there are additional things we can all do to protect us from catching and spreading these nasty flu bugs and viruses which just do not want to give up on us. If you suspect you already have flu symptoms, do not hesitate to contact your physician immediately. Early management will shorten the length of illness and help to eliminate any further complications.
As many of us already know, there are many simple and natural ways to help prevent infection in our homes. Following are some easy and inexpensive ideas to keep these critters at bay while avoiding toxic chemical ingredients in many off-the-shelf products:
1. Wash those hands. The flu germ besides being very infectious can live up to 72 hours on surfaces. All you have to do is touch something that has the germ and then rub your eye or nose or mouth and you may have lost the battle.
2. Use natural disinfectants which are very inexpensive but reliable. Vinegar falls in this category. White vinegar is used more frequently because it is clear and will not stain surfaces as sometimes the apple cider vinegar will do. Vinegar will kill germs. Many claim it will kill all germs but studies have shown that it is 80-88% effective. Vinegar can be added to a spray bottle with water to clean just about anything safely . I use 100% undiluted to clean door knobs, railings etc. The odor will not last long but if you want to add a couple drops of an essential oil, try lavender or tea tree oils. Both of these essential oils have anti-viral properties.
3. Hydrogen Peroxide is another good item to keep on hand. If you clean a surface with vinegar first, then clean the surface again with Hydrogen Peroxide, you have a better chance of killing those little bugs. However, DO NOT mix the two together! I keep two separate spray bottles clearly marked.
4. Tea Tree Essential oil is one of my favorites. It works great for killing germs, mildew and molds and it is anti-fungal. Again, put a few drops into a spray bottle of distilled water to clean hard surfaces. Tea Tree oil should NOT be taken internally. But a drop in a 2 oz. glass of water makes a great germ killing gargle when getting a sore throat or you think you are catching a bug. Again, be very careful that it is diluted and you do not swallow. I will discuss the safe use of essentials oils in detail later. Please note that Tea Tree Oil can be very toxic to Cats so be careful when and ow you use it when your furry friends are near. I especially would not suggest using it in your floor cleaners.
5. Add a few drops of tea tree oil to a spray bottle filled with water and a few tablespoons of baking soda and borax for a good cleaner/ disinfectant for counters, sinks, and bathrooms. Another good reliable germ killing recipe is to add 2 teaspoons borax, 4 tablespoons white vinegar and 1/4 teaspoon of liquid castle soap to 3 cups of hot water.
6. Disinfect your kitchen sponges or cloths by putting them in the dishwasher for a spin, or in the microwave for 1 minute.
7. Take extra precaution when in public or around others who are coughing around you. If possible, if you are sick, limit your exposure to others.
So head out and pick up some 16 oz. spray bottles, a gallon of white vinegar, some borax and castille soap (I use Dr. Bonners) and get to work!
I like to use a variety of the above ideas at different times to be more effective. I guess this could be called teamwork: all-for-one, one-for-all. Meaning, maybe each has their role but using them all will just reinforce our efforts.
These are just a few easy natural solutions to help you take better care of yourself, your family and environment. Many more to follow.
Timing seems right for this article right now, but do not fear, I will follow-up in the near future with a good introduction to my specialities of Aromatherapy and Reiki!