Someone in your household has a cold or the flu? To make sure everyone else in your household is protected, it is time to review your cleaning methods.
Dr. Noah Akala, Public Health specialist, MD, says once a member of your household is infected with a bug, it is best to arm yourself with cleaning gloves and bleach.
“I would highly recommend a bleach-based cleaner’ he says. There are certain infections, which are not killed by normal mechanisms –
What to clean (and when)
It’s important to clean thoroughly after everyone in the house is healthy. Dr. Akala recommends starting with things that are frequently touched, like counters, doorknobs, refrigerator handles, remote controls and especially cell phones.
“Cell phones can have more germs than a toilet seat. It’s amazing what is on a cell phone. You definitely want to clean those routinely,” Dr. Akala says.
Pay close attention to the kitchen, not only because it’s a place where many people gather and touch things, but also because it’s where food and drink are being prepared.
Bacteria and viruses can live on surfaces for a while — sometimes days or even weeks, Dr. Akala says.
He also recommends washing bedding and stuffed animals in hot water and wiping down other objects that can’t be easily washed using a bleach-based cleaner, if possible.
And change your habits too!
An often-overlooked way to try to stop the spread of illness, Dr. Akala notes, is to change our habits, as difficult as that may be.
“One of the key things that’s hard for people is to not touch their face,” he says. “We touch our faces so many times a day, and half of the time we don’t even realize it. You rub your eye, your nose, scratch your face, lean on your hand — and this is probably one of the biggest habits to stop doing to prevent sickness.”
Dr. Akala also points out that it’s important for those who come down with a contagious illness to stay home from work and school until they’re starting to improve to help prevent it from spreading to other households.