Seasonal flu usually debuts in the fall and peaks shortly after the new year. Children, seniors and those with chronic health conditions are most at risk because they have weaker immune systems. But keep in mind that the flu is very contagious. We’re all susceptible to the respiratory illness if exposed to it. So if your apartment is home to multiple generations, get ready!
If someone in your apartment comes down with the flu, it’s important to have a plan of attack. As much as you’d like to lock them away for a week (in the nicest way possible), someone has got to show the ailing one a little TLC. Here’s a few things you can do to prevent those yucky germs from spreading throughout your small space.
- Make sure the sick person is quarantined. He or she should be taking all medications and following doctor’s orders.
- Consider getting the flu vaccine. Your job or school may offer them free of charge. You can also inquire with your doctor’s office or local pharmacy.
- Wash your hands regularly with soap and water, especially after having contact with the sick person. At the very least, keep travel size bottles of hand sanitizer in each room.
- Everyone – sick or not – should cover their mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing. Other than that, avoid unnecessarily touching your mouth, eyes and nose as these are the areas in which germs most commonly enter the body.
- Throw tissues away as soon as possible to prevent the spread of germs. Piling them up on the nightstand won’t help.
- If you’re caring for someone with the flu, talk to your doctor about available antiviral medications.
- If you happen to have more than one bathroom, dedicate one to the sick person and clean it daily to keep germs from spreading.
- Open windows if possible to keep the apartment well ventilated.
- Wipe down surfaces (table tops, doorknobs, phones and toys) with a good disinfectant multiple times each day.
- When washing bed linens, avoid “hugging” them to your body as this will lead to contamination. Wash with hot water.
It can take up to two weeks to completely get over the flu. Surprisingly, you can be infected, not show any signs yet, and still pass it on to someone else. Visit Flu.gov and CDC.gov for more official tips and advice regarding how to prevent and treat the flu this season.
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