Elbow bumps seem to be replacing handshakes and high-fives these days. With the current flu season in full swing, the recent news reports about the annual virus have been pretty alarming.

Like most mothers, I believe my children’s health and well-being are my No. 1 priority. With so many children suffering with the flu, I’m on the lookout for new ways to prevent them from getting the disease. I was pleasantly surprised when I saw players at my son’s basketball game “elbow bumping” instead of giving each other high-fives.

The coach’s wife told me they did it in hopes of preventing flu transmission. I thought the idea was ingenious, especially since personal contact is the most common form of spreading the virus.

While watching news coverage on the flu epidemic, I heard that many clinics and vaccination centers are running low on the vaccine. I was thankful that employees at our local Walgreens store told me it had plenty when I took my kids in for their shots. I did my best to explain to them that this quick pinch was going to help arm them from catching nasty germs that could make them very sick.

Thankfully, my children have complied with all of my anti-flu regimens at home. Although they aren’t a big fan of my kale and garlic salad, they help keep counter surfaces sprayed with Lysol, drink their orange juice, take their vitamins and wash their hands.

My biggest fear is the exposure they may face at school. Granted, the flu virus only lives on hard surfaces for eight hours, but I shudder when I think of how many germs they come into contact with. At this point, I have to have faith in the use of hand sanitizer (a required item on the yearly school supply list) and what I have taught my children: to limit hand contact and ALWAYS wash their hands.

I try to touch as few items as possible in public. And I try to sanitize commonly used items such as shopping carts. I try to instill this in my children as well, but sometimes their four hands are faster than my two eyes.

Luckily, I haven’t met anyone with the flu and I hope it stays that way. But I know it is out there, running its nasty course through our community.

I can only hope that my anti-flu techniques help prevent us from making any late-night emergency room visits. As a mother and a resident, I appreciate it when someone doesn’t shake my hand for fear of passing germs. I will gladly offer them an elbow bump instead.

Heather Smith is a Herald correspondent who lives in Kempner. She can be reached at rymad82@gmail.com.

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