As the year ends and winter sets in, it’s important to keep your home clean as cold and flu viruses are easier to catch and contain during the winter months. If a family member starts sneezing because of the cold and damp winter conditions, they are likely already showing flu symptoms. It was too late for them; they may catch it through someone at work or passing someone who is coughing on the street. However, to avoid prolonged colds, and to help prevent the rest of the family from contracting them, there are some important tips to follow.
This doesn’t mean keeping the house warm. A warm, damp house can actually breed more germs than a cold house (but not too cold, because moisture can settle!), because it’s harder for germs to survive the harsh conditions. Chills are known to suppress the immune system, just as a lack of sunlight alters serotonin and melatonin levels, meaning that any virus we catch takes longer to heal. Keep yourself warm by covering yourself up, and don’t forget that 30% of your body heat is lost through your head, so dress your head in stylish headgear.
Wash your hands
This may seem obvious enough, but it’s easy to forget. Washing your hands for 20 seconds with soap and warm water, as opposed to just a quick rinse in cold water, has been shown to massively reduce the risk of spreading cold and flu viruses. Also think about what your hands touch regularly; doorknobs, credit cards and light switches can all be hotbeds of dangerous activity. Sterilize them! Disinfectant spray, or even plain vinegar can help kill germs on surfaces that may have come in contact with it.
No tissue? Sneeze into your elbow
If you were unlucky with the infection and now proudly have a red, runny nose, you can prevent the spread of infection by covering your mouth with your elbow when you need to sneeze. It’s always better to keep a box of wipes handy, but sometimes there aren’t any available (maybe because you’ve used them all) or there just isn’t enough time. Sneezing into your elbow keeps germs from getting into your hands, where they can easily spread.
Deep clean your furniture!
It sounds a bit odd, but this is because in the winter months, families are more likely to be snuggled up on the couch, or sharing chairs. It’s cold and comfortable, but it can also breed germs, as they stick to surfaces and can multiply and spread. Be sure to wash the duvet regularly in the washing machine, and for the seating area you can use a vacuum cleaner or hire a professional cleaner.
It’s hard to completely avoid a cold during Winter, some families even consider it a tradition, but you can at least stop it from spreading to the rest of your family, or minimize your cold ‘down time’ by following these steps and keeping clean. .
Erin Calloway is the lifestyle blogger who contributed this post.