8 ways to flu-proof your home

Stay protected against the influenza outbreak.

Young female Asian being sick/ill in bed

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It’s the flu season in Malaysia!

While the Health director-general, Datuk Dr. Noor Hisham Abdullah, has played down fears of the nationwide flu outbreak, it’s better to be safe than sorry. Especially as the Ministry of Education has confirmed that several schools have been closed in Penang and Selangor because of Influenza A. 

The Malaysian Medical Association president, Dr. N. Ganabaskaran, has advised the public to get influenza vaccinations. In particular, high-risk groups that should be vaccinated include children, pregnant women and adults aged 65 and above. Flu vaccines are the best way to prevent the flu. 

We urge that you or anyone you know to quickly visit a doctor if you’re experiencing one or more of the following symptoms: Persistent high fever, cough, fatigue, joint and muscle pain and a sore throat. There are many different strains of the flu and it should not be taken lightly, so make that trip to the doctor pronto! 

To really keep the flu at bay, it’s best to take extra precautions by flu-proofing your home. Here are eight things you can do around the house to prevent the flu from infecting your family.

1. Wash your hands, properly!

washing hands

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After a flu vaccination, hand hygiene is the next important step in keeping the flu away (especially if you’re the type to cough and sneeze into your open palms). Grab some hand soap, lather and rub your hands together for a minimum of 20 seconds. Don’t forget your nails. Wash off the soap and completely dry your hands. 

2. Sanitise all surfaces

Woman doing chores in bathroom, cleaning tap

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Take note of all the surfaces at home that your hand touches most often, such as doorknobs, light switches, remote controls, handles, countertops and desks – these are the prime flu virus spots, which (according to the National Health Service, UK) can stick around for up to a day on hard surfaces. Buy some disposable sanitising wipes to clean these spots thoroughly, and dry afterwards with a paper towel. 

3. Germ-proof the kitchen

Woman's hands cleaning kitchen top in gloves

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Never forget to wipe off kitchen surfaces like your countertops, sinks, faucets and cutting boards thoroughly after use. Replace sponges and kitchen clothes often, as these can be breeding grounds for bacteria, germs and viruses. As a temporary solution, you can microwave your sponges for about a minute to kill them all but make swapping old ones with new ones a priority. 

Read more: 8 dirtiest spots in your kitchen (and how to clean them)

4. Even your cleaning tools need cleaning

vinegar-spray-baby-oil-bathroom-cleaning-tools

© 123rf

It’s just as important to sanitise and disinfect your cleaning tools, such as your mops or rags, between uses. Otherwise, you’re just shifting and spreading bacteria around the home. Instead of helping germs to spread, soak your cleaning tools in hot, soapy water after every use. Add some bleach to disinfect your tools. Alternatively, with the flu season about, buy some disposable cleaning supplies to save some time. 

5. Scrubbing bacteria from your sheets

rumpled-sheets

© Getty

Can you imagine how much bacteria are on your bedsheets and pillowcases, especially if you sleep without the air conditioner in our country, this hot and humid Malaysia? It’s a chore, but you should wash your bedsheets, towels and floor rugs in hot water often to prevent a flu infection. But if that sounds troublesome, at least send your pillowcases to wash once a week as it’s in direct contact with your face daily. 

6. Fund a filter

Person Removing Ceiling Air Filter

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Now is a great time to buy an air filter, which is able to reduce bacteria and viruses in the air at home. Most filters are designed to get rid of up to 99% of bacteria and viruses in airborne particles. It even helps family members with a sinus problem to breathe better. The best place to set it is in the living room, or in a spot where most of the family hang out often. If you have the money, you should get another for your bedroom. 

Read more: 5 items in your house that are making you sick

7. Or humidify your house

air purifier

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A cheaper alternative would be to purchase a humidifier. The moisture produced from a warm or cold mist humidifier can prevent the flu virus from spreading. However, it’s not as effective as a proper air filter and you have to clean the humidifier often, or else bacteria and mould will grow inside. 

Read more: 5 ways to make your home smell nice

8. Don’t forget the toys

toddler playing with toys

© Irina Schmidt | 123rf

If you have kids around the house, it should be your prerogative to sanitise their toys as much as possible during this flu season using sanitising wipes. For non-electric, non-battery powered or metal toys (or anything that can rust), soak them for a few minutes in water mixed with one or two drops of bleach. Rinse these toys and completely dry them with a paper towel. 

If anyone at home is already down with the flu, disinfect these spots as often as you can. When the flu subsides, keep at it for a few days more just to be safe. While it takes up plenty of time and energy, it’s a small sacrifice to keep your family healthy and free from the flu.  

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