Our homes are pretty germy places. Germs and microbes are introduced into our living spaces in an assortment of ways, including our pets, kids, and ourselves (to name a few). Viruses, including the flu, like to live on the things we touch every day. Luckily, by taking a few simple precautions, we can reduce the chances of the flu spreading to and through the family.
1. Germ Awareness
To effectively avoid catching the flu, it helps to understand the germs that cause it. Influenza spreads primarily through tiny droplets produced when we sneeze or cough. These can land anywhere: on nearby surfaces and on the faces of anyone who may be nearby. The flu can also be contracted when a person who touches an object or surface with the virus on it touches their nose, or mouth, or even sometimes their eyes. The virus can survive on hard surfaces, such as doorknobs, subway poles, or countertops, and infect people for up to 48 hours.
2. Good House Cleaning And Hygiene
We all know about the importance of washing our hands. Whether it’s flu season or not, proper handwashing is integral in the fight against spreading viruses and bacterial infections. After contact with a public surface, questionable surface, or other people, you should wash your hands. Use soap and water and make sure to keep the lather going for at least 20 seconds, thoroughly drying your hands afterward. In the absence of soap and water, an alcohol-based sanitizer will suffice as long as it remains on the hands for 15 seconds.
When it comes to surfaces in the home, there are plenty of places the flu is likely to be found. Disinfect regularly high-touch surfaces like countertops, doorknobs, cutting boards, sinks, remote controls, phones, and keyboards. They are notoriously germy places. Killing the flu can be accomplished by wiping these surfaces down with diluted bleach, hydrogen peroxide, or household detergents. Of course, common cleaners contain chemicals, which can be harmful, especially to children and pets. If you prefer a chemical-free method, steam also does the trick and can be achieved using a steam cleaner.
3. Filter And Humidify
Indoor air contamination tends to be up to five times more concentrated than the air we breathe outside. Most air purifiers circulate the surrounding air a few times per hour and, equipped with a HEPA filter, remove even the smallest microbes from the air, including allergens and airborne germs. Replace your HVAC filters and have it serviced regularly so it can serve as a full home filtration system . Increases in humidity are also said to make it difficult for viruses to thrive. However, just like with your HVAC system, humidifiers can breed bacteria when not cleaned regularly.
Flu germs can spread even before symptoms appear. The virus can also live on porous surfaces even longer than on hard surfaces. Don’t forget, don’t to share linens, wash and dry them on hot settings, and wash your hands immediately after handling them.