Common but Unexpected Ways to Pass the Flu to Your Family

Common but Unexpected Ways to Pass the Flu to Your Family

 

Fall is here, the wind is blowing, cozy sweaters are emerging from the backs of closets, and everything is wonderful.

Except one thing…

It’s flu season.

Which means you’re probably giving everyone who coughs the side-eye and making mental notes not to borrow any pens off their desk.

Good for you!

While you’re keeping your due diligence up at work, the grocery store, and everywhere else you go where there are people, don’t let your guard down in one of the most high-risk environments:

Home.

At home with the people we love most and feel so comfortable around, it’s easy to forget to maintain the same anti-germ attitude as we do in the outside world.

While you may be arming yourself with disinfectant wipes and donning a hazmat suit anytime one of your children coughs, it’s easy to overlook these common but unexpected fomites.

What on Earth Is a “Fomite”?

Hold up. Fomites?

Yes, fomites. Fomites are physical things in your environment that can carry an infection from one person to another.

Fomites can include everything from clothes to doorknobs to utensils – and more.

This flu season, the best way to battle flu-carrying fomites is to do your due diligence and remember to disinfect even the most unexpected surfaces.

In the Bathroom

When we’re at home, we’re in our comfort zone. It’s our cozy little corner of the world where we can turn off our brains, relax, and spend time with the people we love most.

Which means there are a lot of things we do and surfaces we touch without thinking about it.

For example, we’re all (hopefully!) good about washing our hands after using the restroom and before touching anything around the house. However, there are two things that are exempt from that rule:

The toilet flush knob and the toilet paper holder.

Worse, neither of those little gadgets get much attention during a thorough bathroom cleaning. Sure, we tackle the tub and scrub the toilet. We may wipe out the sink and even Draino the drain.

But when was the last time you disinfected the toilet flush knob? Have you ever cleaned the toilet paper dispenser?

We bet you will next time.

In the Kitchen

Countertops – check! Stovetop – check! Little cheese drawer in the fridge – check!

We all have our kitchen cleaning regimens, and many of us run through them every single day. However, there are a few areas of the kitchen that you may be overlooking.

First, the microwave. If you’re like most busy American households with children, the microwave is one of your most-used appliances. When we’re sick and need to heat up some tea or soup, the microwave may be the only thing we have the energy to use. Be sure to disinfect the microwave door handle, the button panel, and any splatter covers you use inside your microwave.

Another frequently neglected item is the faucet handle. While you may have your kids well trained when it comes to washing up before a meal, the first and last thing they touch is the faucet handle. Remember to give that a thorough cleaning to make sure no flu germs are able to side-step their good hand washing habits.

Lastly: drawer handles. For some reason, we often remember to clean cupboard door knobs, but then forget to wipe down the handles to the utensil drawer and miscellaneous can-opener/measuring cup/everything else drawer.

In the Family Room

When was the last time you disinfected the TV remote – everyone’s favorite entertainment buddy? Yesterday? Good!

How about that comfy throw over the back of the couch or the switch on the lamp on the end table? Never? Uh-oh.

Germs aren’t just partial to hard surfaces. They can live in soft fabrics like blankets, pillows, and clothes.

If you have some cozy materials adorning your family room, make sure to clean them thoroughly after your little one spends a week on the couch recuperating from the flu while watching My Little Pony on repeat.

Everywhere Else the Flu Likes to Hide

As we’re living our lives in our familiar homes with our familiar people, we often relax into autopilot. You know how to go from the laundry room to the kitchen to your bedroom, but do you remember all the things you touched along the way?

Objects such as doorknobs, the sides of doors (beside the knob), light switches, appliance buttons, the backs of chairs, and door locks are touched by just about everyone in the house. However, we often forget to disinfect them when we do our normal household cleaning.

Now, if all of this seems like overkill, we understand. The last thing you want to do on your Saturday morning is run around the house disinfecting every remote button, toilet flusher knob, and drawer handle in your home.

If you’d like some help keeping the flu virus out of your home during the flu season, or if you’ve had someone in the home fall ill and you want to stop the germs from spreading to the rest of the family, contact us for information on our residential disinfection service.

Have questions about how to keep the fight outside the body during the flu season? Let us know in the comments below!

By | 2018-10-22T16:48:20+00:00 October 2nd, 2018|Family, Infection Control, Residential Disinfection|0 Comments

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