HOW TO PROTECT YOUR FAMILY AGAINST THE FLU
Now is the time of year when colds and flu seem to hit the hardest here on the Space Coast. Some people seem to think that they are either lucky or unlucky and that they just have to wait to see if they get it or not. Others get a flu shot and cross their fingers. No one wants the flu in their home, yet many people have a laissez-faire attitude about preventing it.
However, there are concrete and sensible precautions that everyone can take to minimize their chances of bringing the flu into their home. That is why we have written this handy guide to protecting your family against colds and the flu.
WHAT GERMS LIKE THE MOST
Germs, which we will call flu viruses, microbes, or harmful bacteria that cause disease, live on just about any surface and spread to humans through skin contact, so anything we touch during the day can be a place to pick up germs. Those germs on our hands make it to our eyes, nose, and mouth, and before we know it, we’re coming down with something.
Amazingly, the flu virus can actually live on most surfaces for up to 2 days. That means that if a visitor comes into your home and touches the faucet handle on a Wednesday, you can pick up their live germs from that handle on a Friday.
Disinfecting your home on a regular basis can help to protect you and your family from germs if someone who has a cold or the flu visits or lives in your home. How often you need to disinfect in your home depends on the type of surface and how frequently it comes into contact with those germs.
Don’t panic though! Simply being consistent about cleaning some key items can go a long way towards helping you to contain those germs. We all know the basics: avoid touching your face and eyes, wash your hands often, stay home when you’re sick, try to stay away from sick people. Yet germs still find a way into our homes and family members’ bodies. How can you help yourself and your family?
READ THESE OVERALL TIPS ON KEEPING YOUR FAMILY HEALTHY
Disinfect things: Regularly wipe down high use surfaces in your home daily with a household disinfectant or disinfectant wipes. If there are sick persons in the home, do it even more regularly. Focus on items that really matter, such as shared spaces and frequently touched surfaces.
Sick people need more attention: If you have a sick person in the home, regularly clean their clothing, bedding, and eating utensils with soap or detergent.
Wash, wash, wash. Let everyone in the house know that it is a rule to wash their hands often. This is especially important if someone works with sick people, or if you have school-age kids in the home. If you already have a sick person in the home, you need to be extra vigilant about keeping things clean.
Do it right! The quality of hand washing is important! Spend 30 seconds scrubbing your hands with soap and water. It doesn’t really matter if it’s solid soap bars, liquid soap or hand sanitizer. But if it is liquid soap, it is important to wash the dispenser as well.
Careful with the towels. Don’t use a common towel to dry off. Use separate, color-coded towels for each member of the family, or use paper towels to dry off with.
Take off your shoes. Leave your shoes at the door so that you don’t track germs and toxicants into the home.
Don’t forget the light switches and doorknobs Use disinfectant wipes to wipe down light switches and doorknobs, places where people touch a lot.
The bottom of your bag. When you are in public, watch where you set down your handbag or purse, especially in public bathrooms.
Electronics. Disinfect the electronics such as TV remotes, smartphones, tablets, keyboard, and mouse.
Kids. If you have kids, dress up your kid’s hand sanitizer with a fun case, so they might think to use it more often. Let them pick out a reusable water bottle that they love. This will encourage them to drink more water and staying hydrated can help to fight off viruses. Do the same with a fun-themed tissue case that they can pick out. Put your kids to bed at the right time. They need their sleep to fight the flu. If you can, try to teach them not touch their eyes, ears, and nose, and to make sure that they wash their hands at school as often as they can.
DISINFECTING THE HOME
Disinfecting should be part of your usual cleaning routine, whether or not anyone at home is sick. Check the bottle to make sure that the disinfectant works against the germs you are trying to eradicate. Don’t use sponges and washcloths to disinfect, use paper towels when cleaning and dispose of them right away.
THINGS TO CONCENTRATE ON DISINFECTING
Your phone: Can you think of an object that needs it more and more often?
Tables: Kitchen tables, coffee tables, play-area tables, and night tables tend to host cold and flu viruses because they’re touched often and aren’t wiped down enough.
Stuffed animals: You’ve always suspected it right? Stuffed animals are a great environment for germs. Wash them often and if you can’t wash them, put them away while the child is sick.
The bathroom: This goes without saying. Think of how many germs live on an average bathroom faucet handle.
HOW TO SANITIZE THE ROOMS OF YOUR HOME PROPERLY
Kitchens are one of the most germ-filled rooms in the house, because of the minute food particles and moisture from the sink, which both breed bacteria. Some of the most concentrated areas for germs in your kitchen are:
Dish towels: You can imagine now how many germs can live on a dishtowel so make sure you wash them regularly.
Cutting boards: There are hundreds of times more bacteria on a cutting board than a toilet seat! Don’t just rinse your cutting board, wash it completely.
Cabinet handles: Don’t forget to disinfect these important homes for germs.
Refrigerator: Clean off the handles often, and make sure to clean the inside more often during flu season.
Garbage cans: Here’s another no-brainer! Always use a plastic bag and remember to clean the pail once a week too.
Sponges: Sponges can be and usually are germ ridden. Think of how often they turn sour-smelling. Microwave your sponges (wet) occasionally or just throw them away and replace them.
The sink: We left the worst offender for last. Your kitchen sink contains many thousands of times more germs than your toilet! Think of the various types of food that gets trapped in your sink or drain. Use a tiny amount of bleach in water to clean your sink, faucet and basin up to twice a week. When you’re done, pour the solution down the drain to clean inside.
As you can expect, bathrooms are really full of germs. Check some of these tips for solving a bathroom’s problem areas:
Toothbrushes: Don’t keep them out in the open air where they can be exposed to floating germs. Store them in a container in a drawer. Sanitize them on a regular basis and replace them often too.
Bathtub: Don’t forget to use a disinfectant on your tub occasionally. That goes for your shower curtain too. Use a fabric shower curtain so you can wash it in the washing machine.
Floors: Clean the floor around your toilet really well. It helps to close the lid when flushing so nothing splashes onto the floor. Make sure you sanitize often.
Towels: During flu season you should wash you towels more often too. Also, buy color-coded towels for each member of the family and stick to your color.
Toilet: We left this for last. Yes, you can probably imagine how important it is to clean your toilet regularly and that means even more during flu season.
Cleaning is a big job to tackle even when there is no flu to contend with. If there was ever a good time to hire a cleaner to come in, it is during the cold and flu season. Having a professional cleaning company thoroughly sanitize your home is one of the best ways to prevent your family from getting ill. We know just the team to call on the Space Coast. They specialize in using the finest natural cleaning agents in the marketplace, they have all the knowledge and experience that professionals should wield, they are friendly and helpful, and they are waiting to take your call today!