Your home should be your sanctuary, but during flu season it can be a breeding ground for germs and viruses. Flu sufferers can infect others one day before symptoms appear, so it’s important to clean high-traffic areas in the home often to help avoid the spread of illness. Here are some places the flu virus loves to lurk:
- Hard Surfaces: Flu germs can live up to eight hours on hard surfaces like door knobs and countertops. It’s important to wipe down these areas regularly with a disinfectant especially if someone in your house is exhibiting any signs of illness.
- Computers: Whether it’s the kids doing homework or you’re working on a project, the family computer is often a high traffic spot. And if you’re sneezing and coughing near the keyboard and mouse, then rubbing your eyes or nose, this area can become a harbinger of flu germs. One British study found that four of 33 tested keyboards had enough germs present to be considered a serious health hazard, while one had five times more bacteria than the average toilet seat.
- Eating Utensils: Thoroughly wash forks, spoons and other eating utensils with warm water and soap since germs have to come in contact with mucous membranes — eyes, mouth and nose — to infect someone. Be sure to regularly disinfect and replace the sponge used to clean your dishes. You can place it in the microwave for a few seconds to help kill germs. As an added precaution, you may want to opt for recyclable and disposable utensils and dishes for a flu-infected housemate.
- Toothbrush: Replace your toothbrush after illness since the flu virus may linger on it. Keeping your toothbrush covered and in the medicine cabinet rather than the sink can help you avoid airborne germs, such as those released after flushing an uncovered toilet.
For more tips to help you stay healthy this flu season, visit Oscillo.com/wellness.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. How Flu Spreads. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/disease/spread.htm. Published September 12, 2013. Accessed December 13, 2016.
Dunkin M. 6 Surprisingly Dirty Places in Your Home. WebMD. http://www.webmd.com/women/home-health-and-safety-9/places-germs-hide?page=4. Published September 21, 2010. Accessed December 13, 2016.
NSF International. Study reveals top 10 germ hot spots and dangers, NSF also provides cleaning tips to make the home a safer place. NSF International. http://www.nsf.org/newsroom/kitchen-is-germiest-place-in-home-according-to-recent-study-by-nsf. Accessed December 14, 2016.