It’s that time of year again, and we aren’t talking about the holiday season — we’re talking about flu season. December to February is peak flu activity time in the U.S. — which makes now the perfect time to prepare your home to deal with the pesky virus. According to statistics provided by WebMD, on average each year roughly 5 to 20 percent of the U.S. population will get the flu. Of those, about 200,000 Americans are hospitalized due to problems stemming from the virus. Don’t be part of these statistics! Start preparing now so you and your loved ones can enjoy a healthy, flu-free winter.
- Consider getting the flu vaccine. The shot is recommended for everyone 6 months and older. Should your family choose to get the vaccine, you’re taking the first step to prevent the flu from disrupting your home and life.
- Avoid sharing. The cold and flu virus spreads like wildfire when utensils, towels, drinking glasses, and other items are shared.
- Stock up on hand sanitizer. Buy large bottles for around your home, and small bottles for you and other family members to carry with them. Remind everyone to use sanitizer often. This will prevent the spreading of germs you or your family encounter while out in public.
- Don’t forget to wash your hands. Although you should stock up on sanitizer, don’t forget the basics of good hand washing. Scrub your hands with soap and water for 15 to 20 seconds.
- Keep surfaces clean. The flu virus can linger on counter tops and other surfaces throughout your home. Clean surfaces with soap and water, and use disinfecting wipes on hard-to-clean surfaces such as doorknobs and remote controls. Remember, germs don’t stop in one specific room, so disinfect surfaces throughout your house like the office, bathroom, kitchen, and living room. Be sure to change out your sponges every couple of weeks to avoid spreading more germs.
- Invest in copper. If you happen to be doing any remodeling this winter, consider copper surfaces. While bacteria and viruses can survive for a while on other hard surfaces, copper functions as a bacteria killer.
- Purchase products that kill bacteria and disinfect. Not all cleaning products are created equal. Buy a product that you know will disinfect. Look for items with the word “disinfect” or “sanitize” on the label. These have been approved by the Environmental Protection Agency.
- Inventory your medical supplies. Have you looked at your medicine cabinet lately? Pull out your cold medicine and dispose of any items that have expired. Check your thermometer to ensure it’s working property.
- Inventory your kitchen supplies. If you get sick, you’ll want to have a few staples in your pantry to rely on when you don’t have the energy to go to the store. A supply of saltines and canned chicken noodle soup or broth cubes should do the trick.
- Use a purification system. Air purification or even ultraviolet purification systems can help eliminate bacteria, pollen, and other airborne allergens.
- Get plenty of sleep. Don’t skip on the shuteye during flu season. Your body needs time to rest and recover, so it can fight back at the first signs of infection. Be sure you’re sleeping for 7 to 8 hours each evening.
What’s your flu-fighting secret? Let us know in the comments below!
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