With the drop in temperatures, the return of viruses is inevitable. Often, if one family member falls ill, it's not long before the whole household follows. Here are essential tips to prevent the spread of germs and maintain a healthy home environment all winter.
Adequate Ventilation is Key
It's crucial to ventilate and renew indoor air to stop the spread of viruses. Even in winter, make it a daily habit. Open windows for 10 to 15 minutes two to three times a day across all rooms. This is vital not just for coronavirus but also for flu and other winter viruses. A quick 5-minute ventilation, even in extreme cold, can significantly dilute virus aerosols indoors.
Shoes at the Door
Consider leaving your shoes at the entrance. A study by the Wall Street Journal revealed that our footwear is a hotbed for bacteria. Walking around the house in them can contaminate floors and, subsequently, your family.
Hands are a primary virus transmitter, often touching our face and mouth. Regular hand washing is the most effective measure against viruses, as emphasized by the World Health Organization (WHO). Wash your hands after using public transport, blowing your nose, before meals, upon returning home, and after using the restroom. Effective handwashing should last at least 30 seconds with soap and water, ensuring all parts of the hands and nails are thoroughly cleaned.
Wearing a Mask
While masks have become a new normal, they are particularly effective in preventing virus transmission. At home, wear a mask if you're sick to protect others. However, if everyone is healthy, masks are not necessary. Remember to also wear masks in public transport and enclosed public spaces.
Hydroalcoholic Gel vs. Soap and Water
Hydroalcoholic gel is not more effective than soap and water but serves as a good complement. It's especially useful after public transport use. Keep some at home, perhaps in the hallway, to disinfect hands upon arrival. For efficacy, rub your hands with the solution for at least 30 seconds, covering all areas. It should not replace washing with soap and water.
Simple Gestures to Prevent Illness Transmission
Use disposable tissues for colds or flu, and dispose of them immediately in a closed bin. Cough or sneeze into your elbow and wash your hands right after. These simple actions significantly reduce germ transmission.
Regularly Changing Sheets and Towels
Change your bed sheets weekly, especially when sick. In the bathroom, assign individual towels to each family member and wash them weekly. This applies to bath mats too, which can harbor bacteria. Washing at 60 degrees celcius effectively removes viruses and germs. In the kitchen, frequently change dishcloths to prevent bacterial growth.