Everyone deals with cold and flu season, celebrities included. The chilly weather makes it feel literally impossible to keep everyone in the household away from the tissues, especially when you have kids with vulnerable immune systems.
Hilary Duff, who is mom to one-year-old Banks and seven-year-old Luca, knows all too well how quickly germs can spread from one kid to another. But the Younger star is well-equipped to kick sickness to the curb, now that she's a mom of two.
When asked if she's learned anything about treating sickness after raising Luca that she now applies to baby Banks, Duff tells Prevention.com that step one is to keep the germs from spreading. "If one of the kids is sick, let’s say it’s Banks, I make sure that Luca gives her some space, so that he isn’t touching her or breathing on her," she says. "When it’s the other way around and she is the culprit with a super snotty nose, there are times when Luca literally says, 'That’s gross!'"
She also doesn't wait until she "feels super gross" to take care of her health. Here's exactly what Duff does to keep her family health in the winter.
1. She prevents germs from spreading with hand-washing.
While many others run right to the pharmacy at the first signs of a cold, Duff tries to get one step ahead of the germs by making sure everyone washes their hands regularly.
"With kids, and the germs they pick up at school or on playgrounds, Matt and I are always getting sick," she says, adding that they are constantly washing their hands. "We also always have hand sanitizer on us and clean our phones regularly."
And if she does try to get sick? She takes care of it ASAP. "If I’m starting to feel sick, I’ve learned not to wait until I’m feeling super gross to do something about it," she says. "I pay attention to the first sniffles/sneezes and the general ah-ha moment when I think I might be getting a cold."
2. She teaches her kids basics about being healthy.
Although getting your kids to remember to wash their hands before eating or cover their mouths when sneezing is not a perfect system, it's certainly pays off when they make it through the winter cold-free.
"Keeping my kids healthy starts with the same habits we try to have with ourselves. Washing our hands, carrying sanitizer, bundling up, keeping socks on—things like that," Duff says. "The kids are little right now, so we’re trying to teach them the basics like sneezing into their elbows and drinking lots of water."
They also keep there kids home from school when they're feeling sick, to keeps germs away from other classmates. "At the end of the day, for moms, it’s about putting your mask on first," she says. "So, what I do that ultimately benefits my kids, is do my best to stay healthy."
3. She keeps her immune system healthy in the winter.
Regular exercise and a diet filled with fruits and vegetables are some keys to keeping the immune system in check during the winter, so it can fight off any germs that may come your way.
For Duff, she says she keeps her diet pretty healthy in the house year-round, but during the colder months, she loves to bring in more seasonal vegetables like sweet potatoes and squashes. "They're really good for us and comforting," the Younger star says.
Although she loves to hike outside in the sunshine, the cold weather of winter keeps most of her workouts inside, but she doesn't use that as an excuse to be stagnant until spring.
"My exercise routine tends to change depending on what I’m into at the moment," Duff says. "Sometimes I’m on a Pilates kick, and recently I was doing a lot of weightlifting to prep for my wedding. That was also helpful in taking off the baby weight!"
4. She prioritizes sleep.
How often do moms put aside their needs—and sleep—to care for everyone else? "Getting enough sleep is so important. It’s hard to do sometimes, but important!" the mom of two says. "I try to go to sleep when my kids do and make it an early night for all of us."
Some other tricks she has include turning off the TV and avoiding scrolling through social media on her phone right before bed. "I’ve really noticed that I get better sleep when I don’t do that. Also, I try not to wait until I’m absolutely exhausted to go to bed."
When feeling under the weather, Duff takes Zicam and makes sure she gets extra sleep. "I have to give my body time to heal and give it a break," she says.
5. She de-stresses with a glass of wine.
We've definitely all been there. Stress is quite literally an epidemic in the U.S., and adding in less sunshine, colder weather, and more germs, the winter can amplify feeling sick. Duff combats stress with an extensive self-care routine.
"When I need some self-care because I’m starting to feel run down or stressed, I love to cook with Matt and talk about our day," she says of her husband of one month. If the Lizzie McGuire star spends the day on set or caring for her kids, she loves to get home and online shop, have a glass of wine, read a book, or take a bath with bath salts. "I’m also obsessed with dry brushing!" she adds.
All in all, Duff emphasizes that there's no right way to de-stress. "Self-care is really about whatever takes your mind off from the grind for a little bit, so it can be different for everyone," she says.
And what better way to relax than to spend a couple of weeks in South Africa? Duff recently returned from her honeymoon with husband Matthew Koma, and although she shared to her Instagram stories that she felt under the weather since her return, the actress said that she's staying on top of her cold with Zicam and these healthy tips.
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