Flu season is awful, this year even more so than in years past. When someone in your household becomes infected, you may feel powerless to fight against it, assuming everyone will eventually come down with the dreaded ‘bug’. The truth is, even when someone in your family is ill, there are steps you can take to keep you home clean and healthy and help prevent the germs from spreading.
Confine the Flu
When someone in your home is sick, the first step is to quarantine the person with the flu. Because flu spreads easily via coughing, sneezing, even talking as well as by touching surfaces touched by the sick person, it is important to confine the sick to a single room and bathroom. Doing so reduces exposure for the rest of the family and also limits the areas you’ll need to disinfect.
Time to Disinfect
The flu virus is tough, able to stay alive on hard surfaces for 24 hours, meaning you’ll want to clean and disinfect any surfaces touched by your sick family member. Starting in his or her bedroom and bathroom, this means computer keyboards, remote controls, tables, counters, furniture, doorknobs, light switches, faucets, sinks, toilets, etc. To thoroughly disinfect a surface, choose your favorite disinfectant and wipe the surfaces letting it air dry. For delicate electronics like keyboards, remotes, smartphones, controllers, use an antibacterial wipe or cleaner safe for the electronics based on manufacturers instructions. Plastic items and toys can be cleaned and then rinsed thoroughly in disinfectant or the bleach solution, and stuffed toys will need to be washed in hot water
In the bathroom, or on hard surfaces for which it is safe, wipe the surface with a solution of bleach and water. Wipe it on, and leave it for five minutes, rinse, and air dry for maximum effectiveness. Take care not to spread germs with your cleaning tools. For example, if you mop the floors, soak the mop for 20 minutes in the bleach and water solution to disinfect it before moving to the next room. If your home only has one bathroom, take care not to cross-contaminate, sinks, faucets, doorknobs, and light switches will need constant cleaning. And don’t re-use cleaning cloths, wash them daily instead. Better yet, use disposable paper towels for cleaning while the flu is in your home. And while you are cleaning, be sure to wash your hands frequently.
Reduce Germs Around the House
Starting in the kitchen, you’ll want to wash everything in the dishwasher to ensure the best cleaning and avoid spreading flu germs on items which didn’t get a thorough wash.
On to the bathroom, where using disposable cups, individual hand towels or paper towels can prevent the spread of the flu virus.
In the sick room, use a trash can lined with a plastic grocery bag and replace it daily. The trash can be disinfected with the bleach water solution if the stomach virus is active with the flu. Dusting and vacuuming will remove irritants for your sick family member, and opening the windows for a short period will help freshen the space.
Finally, when it comes time for laundering the flu-laden towels, clothes, and bedding, use bleach or color-safe bleach to disinfect the items and be sure to wash your hands after loading the washer. For an extra measure of germ fighting, after the laundry is done, run a cycle of hot water and bleach.
Signature Maids stands ready to help you keep your home clean and healthy during flu season and all year long, give them a call whenever you need a helping hand.