When your whole family gets taken down by a virus, you can only think of one thing: you’re next. In an effort to keep yourself as healthy as possible, you avoid your family and do what you can to avoid getting sick. This scenario is especially common during the fall and winter seasons, when bugs spread throughout schools, offices, and more.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), if one member in your household is contagious then it can easily spread to other people. Even though a virus can easily spread within the home, it’s also possible to stay healthy and well. The important thing to keep in mind when someone else, or your whole family, is sick is that you limit your exposure to them and care for yourself. The following tips aim to keep you as healthy as possible when people in your household are sick.
Wash Your Hands…A Lot
After living through a pandemic, we imagine that everyone is a professional hand washer. You know that you should wash your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds after entering your home from outside. Keep up this habit, but add frequency if your family or people you live with are sick. Ideally, you wash your hands every time you come in contact with the sick person(s) in your home. If they touched the TV remote, glass, bowl, or anything else, wash your hands and wash the item.
Wear A Mask
Another benefit of the pandemic is that people know about face masks, which can help keep you safe when others around you are sick. In addition to you wearing a mask, the sick people in your household should also wear masks in communal areas. This is really beneficial if the person has a respiratory infection, as respiratory droplets can easily spread and infect you. If people have respiratory symptoms or runny nose, consider taking a COVID-19 test as a precaution.
Disinfect High-Touch Surfaces Every Day
Germs are everywhere, especially if everyone in your household is sick. Most germs can survive on a variety of surfaces for varying periods of time. This is why you should make the extra effort to disinfect high-touch surfaces every day. Doorknobs, door handles, tabletops, countertops, bathroom faucets, cabinet handles, light switches, TV remotes, and toilet flushers should be disinfected once per day. For most viruses, regular household cleaning spray, soap and water, or a diluted bleach solution is optimal for disinfection.
Ventilate Your Space
When the weather is cold, you don’t necessarily want to open the windows. If everyone in your home is sick, though, you should ventilate a couple times per day. When an ill person sneezes, coughs, or even exhales, they spread germ-filled droplets. Just as you remove germs from surfaces, you’ll also want to do the same to eradicate them from the air. If you can, open a window or two to increase the circulation. If you cannot do this, opt to use an air purifier with a HEPA filter. Ideally, run this device in the room where the sick person spends most of their time.
Get Enough Sleep
While this is a necessary recovery measure when you’re sick, it shouldn’t be neglected if you aren’t sick. Health experts find that avoiding sickness is more easily achieved when you get enough sleep. Poor sleep can suppress immune function, which decreases your ability to fight infection. Sleep experts recommend that you sleep for seven to eight hours per night, in addition to drinking enough water and eating a healthy diet.
Limit Your Contact With Sick People
If you can avoid them, do so! Infectious disease specialists confirm that avoiding sick persons, especially those with respiratory infections, is a great strategy if you don’t want to get sick. As mentioned previously, viruses can spread via respiratory droplets, so being in close proximity to an infected person increases your likelihood of inhaling those infected droplets. Stay in your room as much as possible and avoid sharing items with sick people. Additionally, try to set the sick people up in their own areas of the house to limit your contact with them.