Houzz Contributor. I cover decorating ideas, Houzz tours & the monthly home maintenance
Coming down with a bad cold or the flu is dreadful. And for pregnant women, people with certain chronic medical conditions, children under 5 and people over 65, the flu can even lead to potentially dangerous complications. Thankfully, there are steps you can take at home to increase your chances of staying healthy and to prevent spreading illness when someone in your household is sick. Here are 10 practices to put in place now so you can stay well this year.
1. Stock Every Sink
One of the simplest and most effective tools in your cold and flu prevention arsenal is hand washing. Stock every sink in the house with liquid soap and fresh towels. There’s no need to get antibacterial soap — regular soap and warm water are all you need.
Make sure everyone in your home (especially kids) knows to wash up after blowing their nose, touching their face, eating or using the bathroom.
In addition to frequent hand washing, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend that you keep your distance from people who are sick, get the flu vaccine and stay home if you do come down with a cold or the flu.
There’s no nice way to put this: Every time you flush the toilet, microscopic particles become airborne and land … basically all over the bathroom.
Putting the lid down before flushing can help, but since you can’t know if others in your household will do this, it’s best to stash your toothbrush and other personal hygiene items in a closed cabinet or drawer. This is especially important if someone in your household has a cold or the flu, it wouldn’t hurt to make it a regular habit.
4. Wash Linens and Dishes in Hot Water
Once a week, wash bedding and towels in the washing machine on the hottest setting to kill germs. If someone in your household has the flu, be sure to wash their bedding (including blankets if possible) in hot water, and wash your hands immediately after handling dirty laundry.
If you have a dishwasher with a sanitize setting, use it to clean dishes, especially if someone in the house is sick. When washing dishes by hand, first soak your dishes in a dishpan filled with soapy water as hot as your faucet will go.
Indoor humidity levels greater than 40 percent make it significantly harder to spread influenza virus from particles released by coughing, according to research from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. Simply put, if you add moisture to the air in your home (or office) by using a humidifier, you’ll be less likely to catch that bug that’s going around. If you do use a humidifier, it’s important to clean it regularly since humidifiers can breed bacteria.
Cleaning regularly is important during cold and flu season. Your usual cleaning routine might still work, but consider making an extra effort to clean and disinfect before and after hosting a party, and daily when someone in the house is sick. Pay special attention to these spots where viruses and bacteria lurk:
Cleaning with soap and water is an important first step; it doesn’t kill germs but does remove them from surfaces.
To kill the germs that are left after cleaning, either sanitize using high heat (e.g., in the washing machine or dishwasher) or disinfect.
o disinfect hard, nonporous surfaces, use a product that is labeled as EPA-registered for use against influenza-A. And be sure to read the directions carefully — some disinfectants need to be allowed to air dry for maximum effectiveness.
8. Sanitize or Replace Cleaning Tools
Unless your cleaning tools are sanitized between uses, you’re essentially giving germs a free ride around your house — not what you want to hear if someone in your house is sick and you’re hoping not to catch it.
Be sure you’re actually getting your house clean by giving soft items like microfiber cloths and dish towels a spin in the washing machine on a hot cycle between uses. You’ll also want to sanitize or replace these cleaning tools, especially if someone in the house is sick:
9. Be Prepared With Tissues and Wastebaskets
Kiddos especially are more likely to use tissues (ahem, rather than sleeves) and deposit used tissues into wastebaskets if they are super obvious and positioned in key places throughout the house — including by the sofa, on the kitchen table and at their bedside.
The power of good self-care can’t be overstated. If you’re concerned about catching a cold or the flu, in addition to taking some of the steps shared here, be sure to get plenty of sleep, eat healthily, exercise regularly, drink lots of fluids and manage your stress.
Your turn: What works for you when it comes to staying healthy during cold and flu season? Share your tips in the Comments!
August 2018 This is a good read and worth the time! Have you taken a step back recently and stayed away from social media? Please let me know your thoughts in the comments, I would love to hear from you.
In a world where every fabric of our lives can be represented, advised, misinformed, or enticed by technology, it takes courage to live from grounded, self-influenced decisions and actions instead.
Technology is a fabulous tool. It can also be a destructive one. It connects you to worlds you may have never known of otherwise while disconnecting you from your own guidance and real-life relationships.
Choosing to view the usefulness of technology with detachment and consciousness brings immense freedom.
By applying mindfulness to your online patterns, you treat the sacredness of your time with respect and reverence. To be sucked into the vortex of the web, losing hours being led through a numbing maze of information, most of which can take you increasingly further from your desired search, is the opposite of recognising the precious gift of your life.
Stumbling somewhat unconsciously through technology can waste hours, which culminates to days, weeks, months and years. Do you want to look back on your life with regret for how little you used your power of conscious choice or do you want to be satisfied that you used technology for the fabulous benefits it offers, while still remaining the master of your time?
Does viewing the lives of celebrities actually enhance your own unique life?
Does it matter what the inside of a stranger’s house look like?
Are so-called ‘wellness experts’ truly qualified to guide your individual body to its absolute peak or are they just amazing marketers and image creators?
Does shopping through online stores really leave you (or your wallet) feeling fabulous?
Do sites that are even potentially inspiring and educational offer clearer guidance than what a walk in nature and fresh air actually will?
While there is a wealth of fabulous and even accurate information online, sifting through the nonsense and misleading material is time-consuming. There is also a wealth of information already within yourself, suited to your own life circumstances, simply awaiting some space from the mental clutter to be heard.
Do you want to read how to be a great parent or just be so, by giving your child more time and attention?
Do you want to cripple your feet in the shoes that someone else is showing off on Instagram or be self-assured enough to wear comfortable shoes, allowing your natural style and confidence to radiate?
Can hours spent in email conversation, most of which can be misconstrued without facial expressions or full context, ever come close to the enjoyment of lunch shared in real-life conversation and laughter?
Do text messages bring the same delight of hearing a friend’s actual voice, where the subject can be covered with much more clarity and understanding?
Does reading about the (heavily-filtered) perfect lives of others have any relevance to how amazing you already are as an individual?
Do you want to read about travel endlessly or do you want to grasp the thrill of discovery through your own adventures, awakening new parts of yourself in the process? Even local adventures can be much more exciting than just travelling via a screen and someone else’s interpretation of a place.
Do you want to go to bed each night with satisfied tiredness from a day and evening well-lived or stumble off to bed with a busy mind and bloodshot eyes from staying on screens longer than intended, yet again?
Do you truly need inspiration from others or just the courage to get offline and create enough space to hear your own inspiration?
Do you want to waste your time being sucked into information that may or may not be useful or do you want to bring more consciousness to purposeful use of your sacred time remaining?
When you dare to use death as a tool for living, by understanding that you are actually going to die, you recognize that your time is ever-diminishing. Every single minute of your life is precious.
Apply as much consciousness as possible to how you use your time when online.
Technology has its place and is wonderful on numerous levels, but so is life offline. In addition to applying mindfulness to your daily use of technology, gift yourself with a regular digital detox. A week or two completely offline every six months offers an incredible reset and recharge for life ongoing. The world will keep turning if you take time out.
Society only changes as individuals do. It is up to you to tell the world how you operate. The world will try to keep taking from you, pulling you in as much as possible. But the world will not be there when you are lying on your deathbed, wishing you had used your time better. Only you will be, along with reflections on how well or badly you exercised your power of choice.
Time is precious. Use it as mindfully as possible.
Choosing to sell your home is a big decision, one that requires the careful weighing of a variety of factors. As your local real estate professional, I want to share with you this useful infographic to help you identify five signs that might indicate it is time to sell.
Between down payments and closing costs, buying a home is a big financial commitment that may seem out of reach for those who ultimately choose to rent instead. However, in today’s market environment of rising rents, the difference in cost between renting and owning is actually narrowing, making this a favorable time to buy a home in most U.S. cities. According to a recent national index from Florida Atlantic University and Florida International University faculty, the Beracha, Hardin & Johnson Buy vs. Rent (BH&J) Index, 15 of the 23 cities covered are solidly in buy territory, while another five are only marginally in rent territory. Want to know if buying is a better than renting for you? Ask yourself the following questions: How stable is my employment situation? Lenders will take the length of time you’ve spent at your current job into consideration, so if you’ve jumped around a lot or just started a new position, that may work against you. Are you ready to settle down for awhile? Buying a home is an excellent long-term investment, not usually a quick flip. So if you’re still testing out different cities or interested in seeing the world, renting may be a better option. What shape is your credit in? Your credit score weighs heavily in securing a favorable mortgage loan. If yours is not in the best shape, it may be better to rent while you work at building a better credit profile. What’s your true financial picture? While your salary may seem more than sufficient to make your projected mortgage payments, keep in mind that homeownership involves many different costs, from property taxes to repairs. So run the numbers carefully before deciding to buy. The best way to decide whether to rent or buy is to consult a real estate professional in your area. If you’d like more real estate information, please contact me. Linda Ciochon-Lichter 402 680 2875