Germs get passed around like gossip this time of year, and just like a nasty rumor, they’re hard to avoid. But, just because one of your kids gets sick doesn’t mean your entire family has to follow suit. Focus on disinfecting these danger-zones to keep the spread of germs to a minimum during flu season.
Tip: A disinfectant spray really comes in handy when dealing with these areas. If you want to use a cheap, nontoxic method, check out BrightNest's homemade disinfectant spray recipe.
If your toothbrush is next to a sick person’s toothbrush, those sneaky cold-germs are just a hop, skip and a jump away from making you sick, too. Quarantine the sick-toothbrush in a separate drawer so that it doesn’t infect healthy brushes. If possible, consider using throw-away brushes for a week or two until the sickness has passed. You can use the old toothbrushes to clean hard-to-reach areas (just be sure to boil the toothbrush first). If your family shares hairbrushes, make sure to disinfect the handle after it’s been held by a sick person as well.
If diarrhea, vomiting or both are on the menu this flu season, your bathroom is going to need some extra attention. Try to clean it at least once a week (and right after any particularly messy incidents). Be sure to wear gloves while you scrub your porcelain throne, and clean your cleaning supplies afterwards to prevent the spread of germs. Don’t limit your focus to the toilet – your bathroom sink and even your tub can use a scrub down, too.
Even if you live in an uber-modern abode, we’re guessing you have some doorknobs. These things spread germs faster than you hang up on telemarketers. Once a day, put on your detective cap and seek out doors that were probably opened with dirty hands (bathrooms, bedrooms and kitchen doors are always likely suspects). Spray these doorknobs with a disinfectant spray and wipe them clean.
Germs don’t typically live on towels for very long, but they will linger around long enough to get you sick. Clean your towels in scalding water at least once a week (more won’t hurt) to keep them germ-free. Toss your resident sick person’s clothes in the wash ASAP as well, so germs don’t have time to fester in your laundry bin.
Denying a child their toys is like denying a dog its water, but you can prevent your toy bin from becoming a germ-hangout. Pay attention to the toys your sick child uses, and clean each of them with a disinfectant spray and cloth when playtime is over. Note: Running toys through the dishwasher will also disinfectant them, but not all toys are dishwasher safe! If in doubt, just go with the spray. The last thing you want to do is destroy your child’s beloved stuffed bunny rabbit over some cold germs.
In addition to cleaning these areas, make sure that your family washes their hands in warm, soapy water as frequently as possible (5+ times a day isn’t too much). Also, avoid sharing food, drinks or the same couch cushion. Most colds won’t last more than nine days, and even the most stubborn colds will disappear after a few weeks, so the germ quarantine shouldn’t last too long.