Living around family members who are sick can be quite challenging. This is because while you want to attend to your family, you are also putting yourself at a risk of contracting the illness they are suffering from. As such, there is need to cautiously attend to the sick while taking care of your health first. It is worth noting that just because a person in your family is sick, the rest of you do not have to contract the sickness.
It is important to be extra cautious if the illness in the family is contagious. This is because such diseases can spread very fast and affect everyone in the family particularly children and other people whose immunity is weak. Fortunately, there are several proven tips you can use to ensure that you stay healthy when your family is sick.
Wash hands thoroughly
Hands may come into contact with contaminated surfaces and as such may be carriers of germs and other disease-causing microorganisms. Due to this, it is important to ensure that you wash thoroughly using plenty water and detergent/soap. You can also use essential oils together with soap/detergent to enhance the effectiveness of the soap in killing germs.
Once you have washed your hands well, you should then dry them using a clean towel. Not all germs can be removed through hand washing as there are some that tend to remain even after washing the hands. This is why it is necessary to dry your hands so as to remove the damp conditions on hands that may harbor germs. Ensure that you dry your hands well including beneath the nails.
Restrict kitchen access
If a family member is sick, you should ensure that he/she does not access the kitchen or other common areas such as the dining table. This is particularly if they are sneezing or coughing and may, therefore, spread germs all over the house quite easily. Bacteria can survive on different surfaces including tables and countertops. Therefore, when the infected person uses the kitchen, these germs may be left on these surfaces and may later get transferred to food, which could be disastrous when you have small kids eating together with your family.
In addition to restricting kitchen access, you should also limit the use of the refrigerator and freezer. Ideally, people open fridge doors more times than any other door in the house. As such, these doors may serve as a germ-swapping spot in the house.
Use hot water to clean laundry
Disease-causing germs, bacteria, and other microorganisms are easily destroyed by heat. In line with this, you should ensure that you use hot water to wash your laundry and for bathing. Research studies have shown that hot water is more efficient in killing germs than cold water. In addition to hot water, it is also necessary to use detergents and antiseptics to kill germs in your laundry.
When doing laundry, it is important that you should not touch your mouth or nose. This is because germs tend to get into the body easily when they come into contact with open surfaces such as the mouth and nose. When doing laundry using a washing machine, it is important that you sanitize the machine using hot water and bleach in between loads.
Reduce physical contact
When someone is sick or recovering from sickness it is not the best time for cuddles, kissing, and hugging as well as other forms of physical contact. It may sound unrealistic and hurtful not to hug and cuddle your sick child, but it is for the best for both of you. This is because while the healthy are at a risk of contracting a disease from the sick, the sick on the other hand are more susceptible to contracting other illnesses since their immunity is quite low.
You should use hands-off ways of comforting and soothing a sick family member by using hand signals that mean kisses, hugs, or using comforting words like “I love you”. If you have to kiss your child, avoid kissing on the mouth but instead kiss on the forehead or other surfaces such as on cheeks.
Disinfect the house regularly
Usually, germs can survive on surfaces for 24 hours only. However, there are some that survive for longer than that. Due to this, you should ensure that you thoroughly disinfect surfaces and floors in the house on a regular basis. Some of the surfaces that you are likely to find germs include counter surfaces, computer keyboards, telephones and toilet seats among other surfaces.
In addition to disinfecting surfaces in the house, you should also thoroughly wash utensils such as spoons, forks, knives, plates and cups among other utensils. This helps in preventing the spread and transfer of germs to other people in the family.
Keep distance from sick persons
If you are sick, it is advisable that you keep your distance so as not to spread the illness to other people. It is necessary that you avoid going in social gatherings while you are on medication as this may put those around you at risk of contracting illnesses. Additionally, you may expose yourself to other illnesses from other people since your immune system may be quite weak thus making you susceptible to developing other illnesses.
Germs and bacteria thrive well in dirty conditions. It is, therefore, important to ensure that you promote hygiene in and around the house. For instance, ensure that the house is clean at all times. Towels should be maintained dry at all times and without any moisture whatsoever. If you have a sick person in the house, ensure that you dispose of the tissues or any other trash used by them. Additionally, ensure that you do not have unprotected contact with items used by a sick person.
For added safety and health while in the house, you should ensure that the sick persons in the house cover their noses and mouths while coughing or sneezing. This helps in preventing the likelihood of having air-borne germs all over the house thereby putting other people at risk of developing infections.
If you want everyone in the family to be healthy, it is important to strengthen their immune system through feeding them on a well-balanced diet, exercising regularly, and avoiding counter-productive habits such as smoking or abuse of drugs. This goes a long way in making it possible to prevent illnesses and infections particularly among young children and adults with weak immune systems.
This post was originally published here.