January 16, 2015

Flu Season Protection for Your Home

By U.S. Navy photo by Photographer's Mate Airman
 Philip A. McDaniel. [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
The peak of flu season tends to be between December and February, and during these months a little extra cleaning can really pay off. When we go out and about, we can easily bring home the flu virus, and it can continue to be a threat on surfaces throughout the home.

Using a disinfectant registered with the Environmental Protection Agency is a smart move. Remember to wash your hands regularly and avoid touching your face while cleaning.

Here’s a checklist of places you’ll want to clean more regularly during the flu season:

1. The bathroom is ground zero for cross-contamination, especially the sink area. Faucets, door knobs, and areas around trash cans are key zones to clean.

2. Light switch plates are notorious transfer points for germs. Wipe them down with disinfectant throughout the house.

3. Remote controls, game console controllers, and touch-screen devices are seldom cleaned and often touched. Refer to your manufacturer’s cleaning directions to make sure you don’t damage the electronics.

4. Beloved stuffed animals are germ magnets, especially those indispensable “go everywhere” toys. If possible, wash these special friends in hot water.

5. Shift to dishwasher-only cleaning during the flu season. Utensils, plates, and leftover food containers might not get a complete cleaning in or around the sink alone.

Someone in the house already feeling under the weather? Take a few extra precautions by isolating their toothbrush, washing their bedding, washcloths, and towels daily, and segregating their eating utensils from the rest of the household dishes. Also be sure to empty their trash cans frequently to dispose of contaminated tissues.

And if you’re buying or selling your home during flu season? Keep in mind that open houses can be a common crossroads for the flu virus. Take extra steps to disinfect before and after events.

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