Without fail, every year, the cold and flu season comes to pay a visit. Despite what you try to do to avoid it, inevitably, someone in your family will catch a cold and most likely spread it around to the healthy members of the family. When you have young children, it is especially important to try to get the germs out of the house as soon as you can.
To truly get the flu germs out of your house, you’re going to have to do some serious cleaning to prevent it from spreading and making everyone sick. The problem is – where and when do you start cleaning? There are definitely certain areas that should be the priority and even some items too. Get ready to learn how to go about cleaning up the flu.
1. What Should You Clean First?
You can take a sigh of relief if you are a mom, dad, or partner of someone with the flu. You aren’t going to need to clean the entire house necessarily. Mary Gagliardi, better known as Dr. Laundry from The Clorox Company, says, “Most people who have the flu tend to lay low, so you can skip cleaning your home from top to bottom.”
What should we be focusing on then? She says that to her, she would prioritize the bathroom and the kitchen. Mary also means that any shared surfaces in the bedroom should also be cleaned. You’ll need to try and clean the space where the sick family member has spent their time and sometimes even retrace their steps as you clean.
The sickling may have visited the kitchen to make themselves some soup, so you’ll need to think of this and clean everything like the countertops, handles of appliances, and even the taps that they may have used during this time. But, trying to clean every surface would be exhausting – which are the ones that vitally need to be disinfected?
They’ll be the distinct commonly touched hard surfaces. These include items such as door handles and also the TV remotes. These can become an excellent place for germs to breed. You should obviously make sure these areas are cleaned regardless of if someone is sick or not but especially clean them when there is any bout of sickness in your home.
Did you know that the flu virus can live on these kinds of surfaces for up to 48 hours? A microbiologist at Lysol, Joe Rubino, says “Disinfecting frequently-touched, non-porous surfaces and items around the home like tabletops, remote controls, light switches, and doorknobs should become part of a daily routine during cold and flu season to help prevent the spread of illness.”
So that’s the cleaning during an illness – but what happens after? It is possibly just as important to prevent it from spreading again! People with the flu will generally spend a lot of their recovery time in bed. In turn, this area is the first place that needs to be disinfected after the illness has passed.
You’ll need to make sure you disinfect all of the bedding: sheets, pillowcases, and blankets. You should also clean any items that were used in the bedroom by the sick person such as electronic devices or the bedroom cupboard handles. If you’re cleaning up the sickness, how do you stay free of the flu?
The CDC recommends that you wash your hands frequently with soap and warm water. You can also use an alcohol-based hand rub to prevent the spreading of germs while you clean. Now you know what to clean, but when should you start cleaning after being sick? For hard surfaces, clean all the ones that your family members touch often. This activity is one you can’t delay!
Mary Gagliardi says, “Start disinfecting those high-touch surfaces as soon as you know, a family member or roommate has the flu – don’t wait for a regular cleaning day!”. You can, however, wait to wash sheets and bedding until the person with the flu is on their way to recovery.
Are there any specific cleaning products that you should be using to help disinfect your home? Definitely! By selecting the correct products for this type of clean up, you’ll effectively be eliminating any germs who want to hang around longer than they should. Flu can spread quickly and easily, so you need EPA-registered disinfectants to target them specifically.
How do you target the bathroom? Sterilizing it with bleach should be an excellent way to ensure that no germs are left in this part of the house. Gagliardi says that you can mix half a cup of bleach with one gallon of water in order to wipe down any bleach-safe spots such as toilet surfaces, sinks, counters, and the taps that they may have used.
What about the disinfection process for clothing and bedding? You’ll need to wash them with a laundry sanitizer. This will help to kill the bacteria that may be lingering in the fabric. Regular detergents could leave these germs behind, and you’ll be stuck with the flu in your home all over again after washing and cleaning.
A fast and easy way to disinfect other small areas of the home are disinfecting wipes. You can use them for areas such as light switches, doorknobs, and various handles around the house. They’re also not a bad idea to have them around the house even when no one is sick – they make cleaning easy with just a quick swipe of the cloth.
Mary says, “Make sure surfaces stay wet after wiping for 15 seconds to kill influenza germs – that’s all it takes!” Cleaning up after an illness is a really horrible job, but someone has to do it. These cleaning steps will help keep your home healthy and happy thanks to proper disinfecting tricks.
Talking about disinfecting wipes… They will definitely become one of your go-to cleaning products. But, did you know that there is a way to use them incorrectly? It all depends on what the purpose of the wipes for you are. Are you trying to sanitize or disinfect a surface? You’re probably quite confused about what the difference is.
Evan Rumberger, an R&D associate research fellow from Clorox, says, “Sanitizing a surface kills germs to an extent recognized as safe by public health standards or requirements. Disinfection takes this to an even higher level of extent of germ kill and variety.”
So, how do you go about correctly disinfecting a countertop? The surface will need to be visibly wet for a total of four minutes. You’ll notice that you use a lot more wipes that you’re used to when doing this proper disinfection of your counter space. How would you just sanitize your countertop then?
You would only need the surfaces to be wet for a total of ten seconds. It’s also important to know that you should let the counters air dry rather than wiping them. This action could create a spread of germs again, which is something that you’re clearly trying to avoid in the first place. You will, however, find all the info on the labels of cleaning products.
10. Read The Labels Before Using Cleaning Products
Talking about labels, you must always read the instructions very carefully on any cleaning products you purchase – the labels are there for a reason. Did you know that disinfecting wipes are actually suitable for most surfaces? The intent is that the product is bleach-free! Are there any surfaces you shouldn’t use them on?
Keep these away from porous or unfinished surfaces. You also need to ensure that you store your disinfecting wipes correctly. Keep them out of direct sunlight, and you’ll still be able to use them for the next year. This one is an excellent product that, when used correctly, can add to the overall health of your home.
Now that we’ve discussed what to do after you’ve had the flu and how to prevent it from spreading let’s learn about the upcoming flu season in 2020. Each season is genuinely unpredictable, but there are definitely ways to take precautions and reduce your and your family’s risk of contracting the virus.
When does the flu season peak? People most commonly come down with the flu during the winter months. The cases of flu begin to increase from October or November and then start to peak in January or February. However, the CDC has reported that this flu season will peak between December and February.
12. Flu Shots Are The Ideal Solution For Flu Prevention
The CDC recommends flu shots for anyone older than six months. So, when is the best time to get it? Getting this vaccination before the flu season can help you remain healthy throughout and will also keep you from transmitting the virus to other people. It is recommended that you get your annual flu shot as soon as it is available.
Once you’ve had your flu shot, it still takes two weeks for your body to build up the antibodies that will fight the flu. It is imperative for you to get it before there is a spread of the flu within your community. But, better late than never – so get your flu shot when and if you can. Even if you wait until the end of January, it can still be beneficial.
Certain groups are most at risk for the flu, so they need to get their annual flu shot by the end of October. The people included in this group are pregnant women, anyone over the age of 65, and then people who have medical conditions like asthma, diabetes, chronic heart, or lung disease.
Their immune systems are often weaker, which makes them great hosts for the flu. Most obviously, a flu shot is the best form of prevention. What else can help you stay healthy and reduce your risk of getting sick? Washing your hands for 15-30 seconds with water and soap is vital throughout the day, especially during flu season.
You should also try to avoid touching your face when you’re around public spaces or when you are close by to others who are sick. It is a natural instinct to touch our faces but try to be mindful of this habit. It is also challenging to remain healthy when someone in your home has, unfortunately, become sick with the flu.
Again, get a flu shot, and as described above, make sure you are in disinfectant mode all-around your home. You might be wondering what the difference is between the flu and the common cold… The flu happens a lot more suddenly than the cold. It will also be a lot harsher on your system than just the common cold. The flu is marked by the following symptoms: fever, cough, sore throat, body aches, chills, runny nose, and fatigue.
15. The Difference Between The Common Cold And The Flu
In comparison, the common cold will have you sneezing, feeling congested in your nasal cavities, and a runny nose to finish it off. The question on the tip of everyone’s tongue is, “Can I catch the flu by getting the flu shot?”. The simple answer is no; you cannot get the flu from getting the flu shot.
The reason for this is because it has been manufactured using an inactive virus, so it won’t be able to cause anyone to get influenza from being injected with the vaccine. Keep on top of the spread of flu in your area by checking out the CDC’s Weekly Influenza Surveillance Report.
You also need to keep your immune system in tip-top shape during the flu season as this truly is your best defense against the flu and the common cold. It’s easier than what you would think! We’ve picked some of our favorite and easiest ways to stay healthy during these virus filled seasons.
First off, staying active is a great way to help reduce your chances of getting the cold. Not only does it diminish it slightly, but actually almost in half! This idea was proved by a study in which it showed that exercise strengthened resistance by causing the immune cells to circulate at a higher rate than they usually would.
Not only that, but exercise is also a great way to reduce stress. Less stress means that there is less inflammation, which in turn means that if you contract the flu, your body will be able to fight it off a bit easier. You probably don’t want to exercise during the colder months, but it really will benefit you and your health.
You don’t have to spend hours in the gym trying to fight off the flu, with just 20 minutes of a moderate form of exercise each day it can have incredible anti-inflammatory effects to help your immune system function at its best. Try taking a brisk walk or joining a fun exercise class that is indoors like hot yoga.
Take a step in restoring the good bacteria in your body. An M.D at the Cleveland Clinic, Dr. Amber Tully, says, “People who have more healthy bacteria in their gut tend to be sick less often. How can you improve the levels of good bacteria in your body?
This action can be through the use of probiotics. They will help to strengthen the cells in your immune system. You can take actual probiotic tablets, or you can increase your daily intake of foods that naturally have it. This list includes options like yogurt and kefir for breakfast or dinner, try adding some pickles or sauerkraut.
This next one might sound silly, but it’s a lot more fun than getting a cold. On your way to work or on your way home, turn up your car’s radio and sing along! This option is a great way to lower the level of the stress hormone cortisol, which is a cause of weakening your immune system.
Create a playlist on your phone that is specifically for this purpose. Pick out your favorite happy songs and put on the playlist when you’re feeling anxious or stressed about something. This natural remedy is not only good for your body, but it’s just a lot of fun too!
Focus on your vitamin intake and which vitamins your body is craving. Vitamin D is a great one to help fuel your body’s T cells. These cells are responsible for fighting off bacteria and viruses. Research has shown that half the population will have a D deficiency when the end of the winter comes.
A way to combat this is to include foods in your diet that are high in Vitamin D. The recommended is 600 IU per day. What are some excellent options for this? Fatty fish is a healthy option such as salmon or canned tuna. There are other good sources of Vitamin D, such as milk, eggs, and also D-fortified orange juice. It’s delicious and good for your body!
Did you know that Mother Nature can actually help you beat the flu? Spending time in nature is vital for your health, according to experts. It is often due to the fact that when we spend time in the environment, we are switching the body from a stressed-out state into a rest-and-digest mode.
When you are stressed, it can cause some very adverse effects. Your body will actually divert the necessary resources away from everything nonessential, which unfortunately includes your immune system. What do the professionals have to say about the effect of stress on our overall well being?
Environment and behavior scientist Ming Kuo from the University of Illinois says, “But when we’re in a relaxed state, the body puts resources toward building the immune system.” Make sure you take a break once in a while so that your body has time to heal and recuperate from any stressors that may have affected your immune system.
Another way to keep the flu at bay is to snack smartly. By snacking on things like vegetables and fruits throughout the day, you will keep your immune system functioning very well. Fruits like berries contain antioxidants – natural medicine from nature. It will neutralize free radicals. Soluble fiber from fruits, vegetables, and nuts also helps to reduce inflammation and strengthen your immune system.
It’s amazing how your mood can have such an effect on everything in your life, and that includes your body and immune system. Sometimes we have bad days and you feel down. When you’re feeling like this, it weakens your immune system. So, the goal is to stay as happy, positive, and carefree as you can during the flu season.
Something you can do when you’re feeling like this is to give a family member or friend a phone call. Arrange to meet up or just chat on the phone. This notion will hopefully give you a feeling of happiness, which will then get the feel-good chemicals in your brain working. These will then counteract the stress hormones and stop them from weakening your immune system.
Technology can also come into play in helping keep the flu away from your home. You could buy a humidifier or even just keep a basin of water next to your bed. What does this do for you? It helps to stop the mucous membranes from drying out. When they dry out, they are a lot more vulnerable and may become infected.
While talking about keeping a humidifier in your bedroom, let’s talk about the importance of sleep! Chris Winter, the author of The Sleep Solution, says, “The functioning of your immune system is intimately tied to the amount and quality of sleep.” The less sleep you are getting each night, the more depleted your immune system will become.
You need to try your best to get in at least seven hours of sleep each night. Now, let’s say that all of the above hasn’t worked and you have unfortunately come down with the flu. What can you do now that you’ve got the bug and want to get rid of it as quickly as you can? Our first tip is to stay at home.
It is crucial to stay home so that you don’t infect anyone else with the flu at your workplace or school. The other reason it is important to stay home is that you need to give your body time to rest in order to fight off the flu virus. You need to say goodbye to your daily routine and hello to your warm bed.
We know that it’s actually tough being bed bound! You are so tempted to go and do your usual errands or carry on with your routine, but this will actually make you take a few steps back in your recovery process. You need to put all this on hold until you start to feel a lot better.
The flu can be very dangerous for older adults and small children. It means that you need to be considerate of these facts and avoid contact with people while you are still contagious. The flu doesn’t last forever, so enjoy the downtime and enjoy binging on your favorite series that you haven’t had time to watch in ages.
Something that goes hand in hand with staying at home is sleeping as much as possible! Sleep is quite possibly one of the best medicines for your body when you are sick with the fly. Try to go to bed earlier than you usually would and also enjoy the sleep-in that you wouldn’t normally be able to have.
A nap during the day during or after the flu is a good idea as your body will take all the sleep it can get when it is sick. It will provide your body with a high chance of recovery. By sleeping and resting up when you have the flu, you will also be able to reduce the chances of further complications as a result of flu-like pneumonia.
You will need to keep plenty of fluids next to your bedside when you’re at home resting. This is because when you get the flu, you will experience a high fever. High temperature means sweating, which means you will slowly but surely become dehydrated if you aren’t getting many liquids into your system.
With the flu, you might also experience other symptoms such as vomiting and diarrhea. All of this leads to a significant loss of fluids. You need to ensure that you are replacing these lost liquids on a regular basis to give your body a fighting chance against the sickness that has taken its hold on you.
What is the best type of fluid for this? Water is the best option, but you could also enjoy some herbal teas or even tea with some honey. These liquids will have a soothing effect on your body and keep you hydrated at the same time. But, there are also liquids that you should avoid. These are alcohol and caffeine.
Along with liquids, you will need to be eating well too. We know that when you’re sick, all you want is to indulge in the delicious comfort foods. But, your body needs more than just ice cream to heal its immune system. Snack on fresh fruits and include vegetables as a side to your dinner when you are sick.
These food groups are going to give you back the vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that you will need in your fight against the flu. It is also understandable that when you’re sick like this, you won’t actually have much of an appetite, to begin with. So when you do eat, it’s important to eat things that will fuel your body.
It is also essential to try and eat regular meals to keep up your strength. Even if the meals are smaller than usual, it’s better than nothing! Alongside these more natural remedies, there is also the option of over the counter medications. These can really help boost your recovery if you don’t end up in the doctor’s rooms.
Visit your local drug store or get someone to do it for you when you’re not feeling well. Go down the cold and flu aisle and take your pick from hundreds of options available. There will be different medications that will deal with individual flu symptoms and others that may treat many of the flu symptoms you’re experiencing.
There are pain relievers that will help reduce your fever and body aches caused by the flu. This list includes medication like Advil, Motrin, and Tylenol. You might also want to try to decongestants that will help to open up your nasal passages. These will help take the pressure off your sinuses and make you feel a lot better.
If you’re experiencing a cough, you can try cough suppressants, which will also help soothe a dry cough. Expectorants will help to loosen the mucus trapped in your body, and it could also be useful if you are experiencing a wet cough instead of a dry one. Last but not least, try an antihistamine.
These will help to dry you out and also have sedative effects that will help you and your body to rest better than you are. Another at-home remedy for a cough is honey. It has been soothing sore throats and coughs for centuries! There has even been a study on the way that it helps when a person is ill.
Researchers have found that a dose of honey was even more effective than a cough suppressant when dealing with a nighttime cough. It was for children who were aged between 2 and 18 years who were suffering from upper respiratory tract infection. On a side note, you should not give honey to children who are under one year of age.
So, in an ideal world, we have robust enough immune systems never to get the flu in the first place. We are always ahead with our flu vaccination and breeze through the flu season. In the real world, we may possibly get the common cold or the flu, but there are great ways to get through it and recover well.