While many have concerns about tracking the coronavirus into the homes, according to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) that risk is still pretty low. The coronavirus doesn’t live long on soft fabrics like carpets and rugs, or even clothing. However, there is a concern with the virus being on hard surfaces like doorknobs, stair railings, and hands, etc.
Most germs are spread through the air when an infected person sneezes, coughs, or even breaths. They then linger in water droplets or on dust particles. Germs also often land on hard surfaces and when those surfaces are touched, the germs transfer to your hands. This is why it’s important to do and teach your kids to “bury” their coughs or sneezes in their elbow and wash their hands really well with soapy water before eating or touching their faces.
That said, it is flu season, and with the coronavirus quickly spreading through communities in the United States, it’s better to be safe than sorry this year. Here are 8 immediate steps you can take to prevent the spread of germs in your house.
- Clean the dirtiest surfaces in your home – It’s time to start doing this more regularly since many of us are worried about the coronavirus.
The CDC recommends disinfecting areas where there can be large numbers of household germs — and where there is a possibility that these germs could be spread to others. Here are some hotspots to hit: doorknobs, faucet handles, toilet flushers, bathrooms, phones, keyboards, remote controls, countertops, and tables.
If you have children, sanitize hard plastic toys especially if your child has been sick. Kids carry a lot of germs, and because of that, their immune systems are much stronger than ours, however, you don’t want grandma getting sick after playing with the little ones.
2. Take your shoes off at the door – Prevent tracking in germs by removing your shoes near the doorway. One article states that E. coli was detected on 27% on the shoes, along with seven other kinds of bacteria, including Klebsiella pneumoniae, which can cause urinary tract infection, and Serratia ficaria, which can cause respiratory infections.
3. Clean your cell phone – According to Seattle Times journalist Bobby Caina Calvan, your phone is covered in germs: 25,127 bacteria per square inch, to be precise. This makes cell phones one of the dirtiest objects we come in contact with every day. And we put it up to our faces!
4. Clean hands are a must this time of year – We recently wrote an article on how to teach kids some non-scary tips on avoiding the flu. Let’s be honest, kids are not very vigilant about keeping their hands clean.
One tip we have done in our household is to keep hand sanitizers or hand wipes around busy areas in the home. We have a bottle of hand sanitizer near the bathroom sinks, kitchen sinks, where we keep our car keys. We have also given our kids travel hand sanitizers to put in their backpacks and sports bags.
5. Practice what you preach! – We tell our kids all the time to don’t share food or drinks, avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth, until you’ve effectively washed your hands and cover your mouth when coughing or sneezing. But are you guilty of some of these? I know I have been on occasion! None of us are perfect, but we need to try to set a good example for our children to follow!
6. Isolate the sick – It’s such a hard thing to do, especially when it’s a little kid, but anyone in the home who is sick should stay in their room away from other family members and communal areas. If they stay in a room that is well-ventilated, they are less likely to pass on the illness. Consider creating a sick room for those that are ill and isolating them away from health family members.
7. Dust your house – As mentioned earlier, germs travel on dust particles and if kicked up in the air can cause you to breathe the dusty germs in. You should also vacuum first, then wipe any dust kicked up from the vacuum off of surfaces.
8. Clean your shopping cart – This isn’t necessarily about the home, but did you know that the shopping carts at the store are filled with nasty germs? In fact, 138,00 total bacteria per square inch, according to the study findings, shopping carts are like Petri dishes of viruses, germs, bacteria, and general nastiness. So, wiping down your shopping cart should be a no-brainer. Carry your own antibacterial wipes to clean every section you come into contact with. Alternatively, carry a pair of gloves with you and put them on while shopping. This will create a germ barrier and your hands won’t pick up the germs. You should also have some hand sanitizer with you to use upon leaving the store so you don’t get extra germs in your vehicle.
These few simple and easy tips should help you stay healthier this year! We could all use a leg up when it comes to beating colds, the flu, or even the coronavirus!