Avoid the Flu at Home

February 8, 2018
Avoid the Flu at Home

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, we are in the midst of a “very active” flu season. The head of the Arkansas Health Department has said that this flu season is the deadliest in at least 17 years and urged everyone to get vaccinated.

Arkansas has recorded 125 deaths related to flu so far, making the current season deadlier than any since 2000, when the state began closely tracking such deaths. And the flu season can run until May.

If someone in your home has the flu, take measures to avoid getting it yourself!

Wash your hands. Often.

This is the single most important thing to do to prevent the spread of germs. Soap up between your fingers and don't forget your thumbs. Scrub for about 20 seconds. You can use any soap, but a liquid pump bottle is good or a touch-free automatic liquid-soap dispenser.

Isolate toothbrushes.

Once a household member has a cold, it's best to separate their toothbrush from the rest of the pack to avoid germ contamination. After the person gets well, replace the toothbrush or toothbrush head with a new one.

Launder bedding frequently.

Put the sick person in a separate room to sleep if possible, preventing the spread of germs. If you must share the same bed, wash your sheets frequently in hot water. It even helps to wash just the pillowcases every few days. Bath towels should be washed every day or two.

Consider disposables.

Give the sick person a roll of paper towels to use when washing hands in the bathroom, instead of using a communal towel. Switch to paper cups for the duration of the illness. If washing the sick person's plates or flatware in your dishwasher, select a sanitizing cycle, as it bumps up the temperature of the final rinse.

Clean your humidifier.

Humidifiers help soothe sinuses and nasal passages, especially when you have coughing and chest congestion. But if using your humidifier daily, you should empty the tank each day and wipe it down until it's dry. Clean it thoroughly at least weekly, following the directions for your particular model.

Keep the remotes wiped off.

Keep a container of antibacterial wipes around so you can clean the TV and entertainment remotes daily. Clean light switches and doorknobs with them, too. Put a small wastebasket in the TV room with a plastic liner for wet tissues and used wipes, and empty it once or twice a day.

--Taken from The Washington Post and Arkansas Democrat Gazette