The flu virus can lurk on any surface from countertops, to carpets, to computers, but certain areas are particularly nasty breeding grounds.
1. Hit the Hot Spots
The bathroom is germ city. Think of all the contaminated surfaces your family touches. Doorknobs, faucet handles, light switches and the sink need to be disinfected every day during flu season, so give them a good scrubbing. A disinfectant will kill the flu while other cleaners will only remove the germs. Check your disinfectant’s label to make sure it is Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-registered. The label should also list the specific germs the disinfectant can effectively kill and instructions on how to use the product for best results.
Let’s talk toothbrushes. If yours are in a toothbrush holder, they’re probably touching, and that can lead to cross-contamination. Find another way to store them during flu season. Also, don’t share your toothpaste. As a temporary, inexpensive solution, buy travel-sized tubes for each family member.
2. Hit the Buttons
The remote control entertains more germs than you might imagine. So do game controllers, computer keyboards and cell phone buttons. Before using any cleaner, be sure you check the manufacturer’s recommendations for that item. If it’s compatible with your device, use a spray disinfectant and follow the product instructions for use.
3. Tidy the Tables
The kitchen table, coffee tables and game tables are perfect hosts for gazillions of germs. We use tables all the time, so we don’t think about how often they get touched and the germs they harbor.
4. Remember Flopsy and Mopsy
Stuffed animals get cuddled, drooled on, dropped and shared. If the manufacturer states the toy can be washed in the laundry, and if instructions allow, throw it in the washer with hot water. If not, put the stuffed animal away until the flu virus dies on its surface.
5. Clean and Dispose
Empty your trash cans and clean them with disinfectant spray, especially after they’ve been filled with germy used tissues.
If someone in your home already has the flu, follow these precautions:
6. Too Close for Comfort
If your spouse or partner is sick, sleep on the couch. You could be at greater risk for the flu if you don’t.
7. Wash Germs Down the Drain
Wash the sick person’s towels, pillowcases, face towels and bedding daily using hot water.
8. Sequester That Spoon
Wash the sick person’s eating utensils separately from the rest of the family’s. It’s a good idea to regularly wash all your other utensils in the dishwasher during flu season.
Of course, remember to wash your hands in warm or hot water often and scrub for at least 20 seconds, avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth, and cough into the crook of your elbow. Take these simple precautions and you just might keep the flu away from your door.
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