Posted on Dec 8, 2020 in Senior Health
This year, there’s more to worry about than the regular flu season with the novel coronavirus still a clear and present danger.
That said, you should bear in mind that 36,000 Americans die of influenza every year.
As well as getting a flu shot, you can do a great deal to mitigate the chances of becoming infected with the flu in your own home. As an inbuilt bonus, taking these precautions should also lessen the likelihood of being infected with COVID-19.
Let’s get down to business and look at how to keep your home spotless and germ-free without overexerting yourself.
Hands are the primary conduit of infection, so you should start your fight against the flu with proper hand hygiene.
You don’t need special antibacterial soap. What counts is that you wash your hands thoroughly and frequently. Scrub your hands for a minimum of 20 seconds.
When you’re turning off the faucet, use some tissue paper to prevent any recontamination. Also, remember to keep your hands away from your face as this is the swiftest route to spreading infection.
Hand sanitizer works well when you’re outside the home. Look for a sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol.
So, why not make every day Global Handwashing Day and get your home hygiene started on the right footing?
Germs linger on surfaces longer than you might imagine. They can linger for up to 48 hours on hard surfaces.
Now, while germs from the flu virus remain on these surfaces, they still need a living host so they can latch on and replicate. Deny these flu germs the opportunity by disinfecting all high-traffic spots from the bathroom door to the living room door.
You should also pay attention to all switch plates, although you should take care not to drip any liquid into the outlet.
The quickest way to blitz all offending areas in your home is to grab some wipes – CDC recommends Clorox Disinfecting Wipes – along with some rubber gloves and a plastic bag. As you clean, throw any used wipes into the bag leaving you with spotless switches and doorknobs in minutes.
How many times a day do you pick up your cell phone? If you then touch your mouth or face, you’re at risk of transmitting germs.
This is especially bad news since one 2012 study at the University of Arizona showed that cell phones harbor more germs than toilet seats.
How can you deep clean your phone without inflicting any damage, though?
With clean hands, use an antibacterial cloth, ideally microfiber, to scour your cellphone. Spray any cleanser onto the cloth instead of the screen to prevent any possibility of water damage. Don’t forget to remove and clean the case, too.
Leave your phone to dry naturally and that’s one less thing to worry about in your fight against flu this year.
It goes unsaid you want a clean kitchen counter at all times, but this becomes even more vital when flu season is in full swing.
Whether you live alone or in a busier house with lots of traffic, germs will end up on spots where hands often land. Pay particular attention to the kitchen and bathroom faucets to keep the area bacteria-free.
If the pandemic has caused you to spend more time at home this year, chances are you’re watching even more television.
While there’s never been a better time to get endless entertainment on demand, the TV remote is a hotbed for germs.
Use a cloth dipped in a solution containing 70% isopropyl alcohol, and wipe down the remote regularly. Before doing this, remove the battery for safety’s sake. Use a Q-Tip to scour the buttons and safeguard yourself against germs being transmitted.
If you’re embracing technology in your retirement, you might not realize how many germs can accumulate on keyboards.
A 2018 study showed that keyboards can be effectively disinfected to reduce the chance of contamination from flu germs and other harmful viruses.
Clean your keyboard daily with a duster and some rubbing alcohol. Whenever you’re cleaning any electronic devices, always spray the cleaning solution onto the cloth, not the device. Resist the temptation to saturate the cloth, too. Less is more.
You should drink at least 2 liters of water daily to stay hydrated. Did you know that the average reusable water bottle could also allow bacteria to grow if left uncleaned?
In just one day of use, the number of bacteria in water bottles can climb from 75,000/ml to 2 million/ml.
All you need to do is to empty your water bottle daily then wash it out using a mixture of hot water and antibacterial dish soap.
To prevent bacteria from growing in the first place, use a copper bottle. Copper has natural antimicrobial properties.
If you’re more partial to a cup of joe than a glass of water, the same logic applies to your coffee mug as with water bottles.
Resist the temptation to give your mug a quick rinse between coffees, as this will increase the risk of germs and bacteria staying in place. Thoroughly clean your cup each time. All you need to do is use a dish brush – don’t forget to regularly sanitize this, too – along with some hot water. You could, of course, pop it in the dishwasher if you have a ready supply of mugs.
If you’re finding that keeping on top of daily activities is tough, have you considered moving to an assisted living community?