The Flu Stops Here: How to Keep It From Spreading to Everyone in the House

How to protect the rest of the family when one of you gets sick

5. Disinfect
If you can give the sick their own bathroom, great. If not, concentrate your efforts on disinfecting the sink area, and avoid sharing towels, cups and other handled objects. Most household cleansers are adequate. Here again, antibacterial ingredients offer no added advantage.

If the patient strays, follow up by wiping down whatever was touched on the outing. In particular, phones and remotes are two of the biggest virus-transmitters in the home, according to Gerba’s studies.

6. To Mask or Not to Mask?
Face masks get mixed marks from the experts. “Only one study showed some disease reduction and the main benefit may be that masks keep your fingers away from your nose, Gerba says.”

The CDC advises wearing a face mask if you must have close contact with a person infected with the flu. A tight fit blocks the small droplets that can otherwise be inhaled around a mask's edges. This is best achieved with N95 respirators, a tight-fitting disposable mask which may reduce the wearer's risk of getting infected. Because they fit so snuggly, though, it can be hard to breathe through them for an extended period of time. Throw away disposable masks each day. Reusable fabric masks should be laundered and dried in a hot dryer after each use. Also remember to wash or sanitize your hands after taking off the face mask or respirator.

7. Ask Your Doctor About Antivirals
If you're the primary caregiver, talk to your doctor about taking an antiviral medication, like Tamiflu or Relenza, to reduce your risk of infection. That said, when stocks are low, doctors will reserve these medications for those at the highest risk for flu complications, such as pregnant women and seniors.

8. Take Care of Yourself
Experts agree that a strong immune system is your best defense against getting sick in any situation. That means you need plenty of sleep, lots of fluids and exercise, along with a healthy diet.

Does illness spread like wildfire in your household? Chime in below.

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