Be aware of Flu Season!

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Keep the germs at bay!

It's that time of year again when every where you turn, someone is coughing, sneezing or blowing a nose.  Co-workers are absent for days at a time, and children are home from school because they've got the flu.  Keeping germs at bay is one the best ways to try avoiding the flu.  The tiny organisms that cause sicknesses like colds and flu lurk in just about every imaginable surface, from door knobs to store shelves.  You probably already know the usual hangouts for germs, but some germs spots are less obvious.  Here are some of the places you might find them, along with how to stay nearly germ free when you do.

Restaurant menus:  I don't want to ruin your appetite, but restaurant menus carry more bacteria than you can imagine.  They've been touched by tons, yet wiped down once a day, if that, and usually with a rag that's filled with bacteria already. You can even feel the grime on a menu sometimes, right? Instead of washing your hands before sitting down, scrub up after you order. And never lay your silverware on top of the menu.

Money, money, money: ATM buttons, cash and a revolving door of bank customers equals germs, germs, germs. In fact, the flu virus can live on a dollar bill for 17 days! ATM companies are hoping to soon roll out touch screens with antimicrobial glass to help fight cold and flu, but for now, your best defense is to press the buttons with a pen.

Grocery stores: Shopping cart handles can be downright disgusting.  As it turns out,  you are picking up a lot more than a bag of sugar. The handle can be swarming with up to 11 million microorganisms, including ones from raw meat. A lot of grocery stores have antibacterial wipes handy, so use them.  And, be sure to wash your hands as soon as you get home from the store.

Soap's not always clean: Public soap dispensers are a breeding ground for bacteria.  From the stall to the sink, there's just no telling what your hands can pick up.  So, scrub for at least 20 seconds or carry hand sanitizer. And use a paper towel or tissue when you reach for the door handle to exit the bathroom.  The CDC reports that many people don't wash hands after bathroom use. Do not put your purse down on a bathroom sink.

Don't touch that remote!: Change the channel with caution. TV remotes are likely resting places for rhinovirus, a germ that can cause the common cold. Use a disinfecting wipe on the remote once a day, and wash your hands after touching to reduce the likelihood of germs on your hands from the remote making it into your body.

Office Space: Even if you're the only one using your computer, it can still harbor germs and the potential for cold and flu.  You can bring cold and flu germs from other surfaces to your keyboard with your hands. Use disinfecting wipes on all surfaces periodically.

The Bottom Line?  Washing your hands with soap and warm water, or using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer, is the best way to stop the spread of germs.  The  Center for Disease Control cites hand-washing as the "single most effective way to prevent the transmission of disease."

TRY ESSENTIAL OILS! Now, you know this post wouldn't be complete without me telling you that "There's an oil for that!" I use the Immune-Booster mixture below to help boost my immune system and reduce the risk of cold and flu symptoms from taking over.  I use only Young Living Essential Oils and highly recommend them for their purity.

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Immune Booster Roll-On (Apply to feet a few nights a week):
5 drops Thieves Oil
5 drops Frankincense Oil
5 drops Lemon Oil
5 drops Tea Tree Oil
Put oils in 10 ml glass roller bottle like this and fill the rest with a carrier oil like olive oil, jojoba oil or grapeseed.

Visit my Essential Oils link for more information about Young Living essential oils. I am a distributor of Young Living oils and can help you to order yours.

Added Bonus:  Here is a delicious, no bake recipe for fall.

No Bake Pumpkin Energy Bitesnewsletter-pumpkin-no-bake-energy-bites

Ingredients:

8 oz. (about 1 packed cup) chopped dates
1/4 cup honey 1/4 cup pumpkin puree
1 Tbsp. chia seeds or flax seeds
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
Pinch of salt
1 cup old-fashioned oats (dry, not cooked)
1 cup toasted coconut flakes
1 cup toasted pepitas (pumpkin seeds)

Directions:
Combine the dates, honey, pumpkin puree, chia (or flax) seeds, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and salt in a food processor and pulse until smooth and combined.
Transfer the mixture to a large bowl and stir in the oats, coconut flakes and pepitas until evenly combined.
Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
Once the mixture is cool (and easier to work with), use a spoon or cookie scoop to shape it into your desired size of energy balls. (about 1-inch in diameter.)
Alternately, you can line a small baking pan with parchment paper, and press the mixture evenly into the pan, let it cool and then cut into bars.
Store covered in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. (Storing them in the refrigerator especially helps the energy bites hold their shape.)
(Recipe courtesy of Gimme Some Oven)

Sources: CDC.gov., WebMD, Everyday Health, http://www.healthsmart.com-WellnessAdvocate

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