It is not uncommon for everyone in the whole family to get the flu once one person in the household has it. The flu virus can be spread before symptoms even appear, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. After symptoms appear, the flu is contagious for up to a week.
However, there are some simple strategies that you can use at home to keep your family well and prevent the flu from taking root in your home.
Disinfect Hard Surfaces
Flu viruses are able to thrive for up to eight hours on hard surfaces. Consequently, it is important to disinfect light switches, doorknobs, and remote controls frequently. Cellular phones are a hotspot for bacteria and viruses. Use antiviral sanitizing wipes or sprays to disinfect telephones and other surfaces on a regular basis.
Do Not Forget About Everyday Surfaces
Larger surfaces, such as desks, countertops, tables and sinks are often used by multiple people in a home. As a result, they are often contaminated with viruses and bacteria. Wipe these common surfaces down frequently with disinfectant wipes, as well. Pay special attention to areas where food is prepared and served, such as tables and countertops. Throw sponges into the dishwasher when you do a load.
Do a Load of Laundry or Two
The flu virus can live for a long time on porous surfaces, such as towels, blankets and bed linens. Fortunately, your washer and dryer are great tools to help you eliminate viruses and bacteria. Wash towels, dishcloths, bed linens and other household linens in hot water and detergent to help in your quest to eliminate bacteria and viruses.
Take Your Shoes Off
Flu viruses and other germs are often brought into a home on a person’s shoes. These germs stick to dirt and debris. Germs can thrive in the treads of your shoes for some time. So, take off your shoes every time that you come in the door and make sure that all family members do the same. In addition, wash the bottoms of your shoes frequently with hot soapy water.
Quarantine the Sick Person
When just one person is ill, consider encouraging them to stay in just one room until they feel better. This is a very simple way of preventing the spread of germs. Make the room comfortable and cozy. Set it up so that they have everything that they need, such as water, tissues and medicine. Encourage everyone else in the house to stay out of the “sick room” until the person is better.
Purify the Air
Many people spend a lot of energy on disinfecting surfaces but forget about the air that they breathe. During the winter months especially, stagnant air can harbor bacteria and viruses. One way to purify the air is to use a whole home air filtration system. These can help reduce the spread of pollen, allergens, mold, bacteria and viruses. In fact, many modern air purifiers can remove up to 99 percent of airborne particles. These can help the entire family breathe easier. If a whole system air purifier is not an option, consider investing in a portable air purifier. Choose one that has a HEPA filter.
Wash Those Hands
Encourage everyone in the home to wash their hands frequently. This is one of the simplest and most effective ways to prevent illnesses. Use soap and warm water and rub hands together vigorously for 20 seconds. Teach younger kids to properly wash their hands by telling them to sing the “Happy Birthday” song twice while washing to ensure that they wash long enough.