If you or someone in your home has a runny nose, a sore throat and is coughing is non-stop, you may be suffering from the common cold. But, if you have these symptoms as well as an achy body and a fever, unfortunately, it may be more than just a cold; you may have the flu! Each year, people become victims of a strain of the flu, which causes them to miss work or school and until the proper precautions are taken, it can be passed to other people that you come in contact with.
There is no guarantee that you won’t become a victim of the flu, but there are several things you can do to help reduce exposure and possibly avoid getting sick. One of the best things you can do to reduce the risk of getting sick is by doing a thorough cleaning, so here are a few tips to help ensure your home is germ-free.
The flu spreads each time a sick person sneezes, coughs and even talks, which can affect people as far as six feet away. The flu virus is also spread by touching surfaces that have germs and the flu virus on them. So, as difficult as it may be, it’s best to confine the person who is sick to one room and one bathroom. This will help to reduce exposure to the flu to the rest of your family, and it also reduces the number of rooms you will have to disinfect.
The flu virus can survive on hard surfaces for as long as 24 hours, so it is essential for your health that you disinfect all surfaces that the sick person has touched, especially in the bedroom and bathroom. Use a good antibacterial cleaner on hot spots, including:
- Sinks, including the faucets
- Light switches
- Remote controls
- Toilet (pay extra attention to the seat and the handle)
It is important to clean before disinfecting. Once everything has been thoroughly cleaned, it is important to also disinfect. When disinfecting surfaces, it is important to remember that the surface must remain visibly wet for at least four minutes before wiping it dry. One of the easiest ways to disinfect hard surfaces, such as floors, is to use a solution of bleach (about ½ cup) and water. Use a clean mop to spread the bleach solution on the floor and allow it to sit for at least five minutes before rinsing and air drying.
- To prevent the risk of unintentionally spreading germs, after mopping the floors in a contaminated room and the bathrooms, disinfect the mop head by soaking it in a solution of bleach and hot water for about 20-minutes. Also, don’t reuse cleaning cloths in more than one room of the house and be sure to toss them in the wash as soon as you are finished cleaning.
- To sanitize and disinfect children’s items, such as toys, sippy cups, and teething rings, wash items, and then allow them to soak in a solution of vinegar and water for about 20 minutes. Rinse with warm water and allow to air dry.
Extra Tips for the Bathroom
To help maintain your good health during the flu season, it is especially important to be mindful of the bathroom. This means, attempt to clean and disinfect the hard surfaces daily. Consider using disposable cups, never share towels with a sick person and instead of hand towels, use paper towels to help prevent the spread of germs. One of the most important things to do in the bathroom is to keep the toothbrushes uncovered and isolate the sick person’s toothbrush away from those of the rest of the family. Covering toothbrushes will allow bacteria to grow, so do not cover them. After you have recovered from the flu, replace all toothbrushes.
When doing laundry, be sure to use the hottest water possible and wash the sick person’s bed linens, pajamas, and other laundry frequently while they are sick. It is extremely important to remember that clean hands are just as important as a clean house for preventing the spread of illness, especially during the cold and flu season. Be sure to wash your hands frequently with warm water and soap for at least 30 seconds. Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth, especially after coming in contact with surfaces that have been handled by a sick person.
Don’t forget about maintaining your oral health, so be sure to schedule an appointment with Trailhead Dental for your cleaning and don’t forget your flu shot!