How to Flu-Proof Your Apartment

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We are currently in the midst of a pretty rough flu season. If you reside within close quarters with one or more people, keeping your apartment germ-free will be nothing short of a daily struggle. Flu germs can spread easily and quickly, and they can even lie dormant for a long time before anyone ever shows a single symptom of illness. So, what can you do to keep your home as healthy as possible and to keep nasty germs from spreading?

Consult your doctor

Although the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) does strongly recommend getting a flu vaccine every year, it is totally and completely a personal choice. Health experts believe that getting vaccinated is by far the best way to protect one’s self from contracting the influenza virus.

Constantly wash your hands

It cannot be stressed enough how much proper hand washing can keep germs at bay. If for any reason a sink and soap are not available, an alcohol-based hand sanitizer is a good alternative–but keep in mind that it can never replace good hand washing.

Proper hand washing, according to the CDC, involves the following steps:

  • Wet your hands with clean, running water (warm or cold), turn off the tap, and apply soap.
  • Lather your hands by rubbing them together with the soap. Be sure to lather the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails.
  • Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds. Need a timer? Hum the “Happy Birthday” song from beginning to end twice.
  • Rinse your hands well under clean, running water.
  • Dry your hands using a clean towel or air dry them.

Proper hand washing should also be performed at a number of daily intervals–before, during and after preparing food, before and after caring for a sick person, after using the restroom, and after coughing, sneezing or blowing one’s nose, to name a few.

Clean everything

Pretty much every surface within your home will need to be cleaned and disinfected, and that’s whether or not a sick person makes contact with it. It’s so easy for countertops, cell phones, remote controls, door knobs and other things we touch all the time to become contaminated. Another tip is to make sure the sick individual has some items of their own that do not get used by anyone else–bath towels, drinking cups and eating utensils, for example. Keep a good, strong disinfectant on hand to keep all surfaces as clean as possible at all times. Wearing disposable gloves is also a great way to keep your bare hands from picking up any contagious germs.

Create a quarantined space

So, someone in your apartment has gotten sick. Yuck! Experts recommend that anyone diagnosed with the flu should stay home until symptoms–particularly fever–subside. That means that the ill individual needs to be tucked away in their own space in an effort to keep others in the home from getting sick, too. That also means no hanging out with them to talk, watch TV or even sleep in the same room. Sorry! Limiting contact might be difficult, and not completely realistic on a 24/7 basis, but keeping distance between the sick person and non-sick persons will make a difference. Just do your best to make sure that he or she is set up with all the essentials–medicine, a beverage, and plenty of tissues.

How have you been avoiding the flu in your home this season?

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