Keeping your home flu bug free

This time of year, it’s not always easy to keep the flu at bay, especially with everyone else around you coughing and sneezing. Aside from getting vaccinated and regularly washing your hands, there are a few other ways to keep your home from becoming a cold and flu breeding ground.
Here are a few simple tips to keep your home healthier during the colder months:

Change fixtures

Certain metals such as copper, aluminium, lead, iron and silver are antimicrobial, which means they actively kill bacteria. However, the most effective metal for killing germs is brass. Door handles and knobs are often common gathering places for germs and bacteria, so changing to brass ones will create a statement in your home, while acting as part of an effective strategy for keeping germs away.

Be aware of possible germ hot spots

There are various areas of the home that are prone to becoming germ hot spots. These include the kitchen sink, countertops, phones, remote controls, the fridge door, toilet handles and children’s toys. Influenza spreads through touching something that a person with the virus has been in contact with or sneezed on, so it is important to make sure you clean these objects with an antibacterial solution or wipe. Keeping antibacterial wipes in several locations throughout the home will increase the likelihood of them being used.

Put items in the dishwasher

While a wipe down is an effective method of cleaning, the steam and hot water in the dishwasher is a very successful method of killing germs. It is a great way to frequently disinfect children’s toys and dog toys. Keep in mind that not all items will be dishwasher safe.

Throw away old wash sponges and cleaning tools

If the sponges, mops or rags you use to clean is filthy, regardless of how many times you clean them, they will remain dirty. These items hold onto a host of germs, so should either be washed or replaced on a regular basis. Unless sanitised between uses, a dirty mop will simply spread germs around, rather than getting rid of them. You could have a tidy home with a remarkably high germ count because the cleaning tools are not cleaned between uses. Placing a sponge in the microwave for two minutes or running it through a dishwasher cycle between uses will help to sanitise it.

Use a humidifier

Viruses love dry air. Research has revealed humidity can make it much harder for viruses to multiply. Homes with humidity levels of between 40% and 60% have far less airborne flu viruses floating around. A humidifier can reduce airborne flu virus particles by as much as 30%, but it is important to remember that a humidifier can also be a breeding ground for bacteria if not cleaned regularly.

Linens need to be washed often

Ideally, bed linens should be washed at least once a week to get rid of any lingering germs in the bedroom. Germs can build up on blankets and sheets, affecting home occupants while they sleep. It is best to frequently wash other linens used around the home as well, such as throws and towels.

Although these tips will not completely eradicate the risk of getting a cold or the flu, they will significantly reduce the chances. Being vigilant and taking the necessary precautions will assist in keeping everyone in your home healthy during the flu season.

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