There are ways to avoid illness at home this winter season! Medication, doctor’s visits, missed days at work and prescriptions cost money that I’d rather be spending somewhere else. Fortunately we’ve been avoiding illness (or at least nipping those coughs and sniffles quickly) with a few easy tricks at home. Simple things go a long way towards not spreading sickness so I’m sharing my practical tips to avoid getting sick.
9 Practical Tips to Avoiding Illness at Home
In the midst of the day-to-day routine, these are the practical ways to avoid sickness at home. These tips carry over and can also help you avoid illness on vacation, on a plane, a cruise and even at work. Getting sick every winter doesn’t have to be inevitable. There are ways to prevent and avoid getting sick even with young kids at home.
1. Wash Your Hands
A no-brainer, right? Frequent hand washing is an ideal way to keep germs from transferring. But you might not be remembering to wash your hands as often as you need to. Wash your hands immediately upon coming home, before you touch anything inside the house. Wash your hands before cooking or eating. And certainly, wash your hands after using the toilet, coughing or sneezing.
Kids need LOTS of reminders for this one! Little ones are known for touching and mouthing everything in the house and we often forget to wash their hands. A swipe with a wipe or Hand Sanitizer will work in a pinch. However there’s nothing like a good scrubbing with soap and warm water. It’s friction that’s going to remove those stubborn germs!
2. No Sharing!
To avoid the passing of germs insist that there is no sharing food or drinks. This means not taking sips from someone else’s cup or straw. No bites using someone else’s fork or spoon. Want to share an apple? Cut it in pieces so you aren’t biting from the same fruit. Eliminate the “Is this glass mine?” issue by giving each family member a labeled cup (either personalized with their name or with a particular image) so they won’t get mixed up. And while smooches are generally welcome, if someone is under-the-weather we limit contact.
3. Remove Your Shoes
With young kids constantly rolling around the carpet & tile in our house, keeping the floors clean is important. But even if you don’t have a little one on the floor, you’d be shocked to see how much dirt comes in to the house on the soles of your shoes. We remove our shoes every time we come inside and I encourage you to remove shoes to keep bacteria outside of the house.
We don’t even keep the shoes inside the house anymore. Shoes are all stored in bins on a shelving unit in the garage. We put our shoes on when we leave the house and wear slippers or socks inside during cool weather. Keeping shoes outside eliminates transferring bacteria onto the floors and helps keep the carpets looking new as well.
4. Change of Clothes
Another way we eliminate transferring of germs is by changing our clothes when we come home. When our kids have been at school or playing at the park, we have them take off dirty clothes, bathe and change into clean clothes. We don’t want germs that linger on clothes transferred to sofas, carpet or bedding! Dirty clothes are moved into the laundry room daily.
5. Daily Cleaning
A daily cleaning doesn’t have to take long. We are able to tackle the basic jobs in about 30 minutes a day and have a very clean house. I follow this printable for daily housekeeping and get it done quickly.
For most of our cleaning tasks we use distilled white vinegar in a spray bottle, Castile soap, baking soda and microfiber rags. Distilled white vinegar inhibits the growth of mold, mildew, and some bacteria, such as E. coli and salmonella. Plus it’s really inexpensive! Be sure to empty trashcans daily if a sick family member is filling them up with used tissues.
6. Wipe Down
Think about the hundreds of times things are touched in your home before they get cleaned. Use your vinegar spray to moisten a damp Microfiber Cleaning Cloth and wipe down doorknobs and light switches. Appliance handles, remote controls, cell phones and tablets can use a wiping-down, too. Shake your computer keyboard out over the trash to remove crumbs and dust then carefully wipe the keys. Don’t forget to clean the mouse!
7. Launder Linens & Towels
On my general routine I wash sheets and pillowcases once a week, blankets every two weeks and comforters once a month. When we have someone who is under the weather, I have a more frequent routine of changing of their pillowcase. I remove and replace it every day, especially if they have a runny nose or cough (who wants to sleep on a snotty pillowcase, ewww!).
Remove and wash sofa pillows as well if your family uses them to rest their head. I also change out the hand towel in the bathroom daily and if someone is already sick, they should use their own hand towel.
Despite all your efforts, sometimes someone just comes down with a resilient bug. To avoid illness from running through the family, move swiftly to contain it and quarantine the sickie!
Last year as soon as we noticed that my son was coming down with a stomach bug, we immediately kept him separated from the rest of the family. This meant, he stayed in bed with the door shut so he could get plenty of rest. We kept him well-hydrated and I changed out and washed his bedding daily. So the illness wouldn’t spread, we didn’t allow the other children to go into the room. And each time I went in to help him, I would immediately wash my hands afterwards. We avoided anyone else catching the bug, hurrah!
9. Eat Well & Take Your Daily Vitamin
When the holidays come around it might might mean rich foods and extra dessert. You can still indulge on those special occasions but continue to fill yourself with healthy greens and lots of fresh fruit the rest of the time.
I’m all about sneaking in the leftover greens into my breakfast smoothies. I just freeze the greens and stuff a handful into the blender cup. Add in almond milk and frozen fruit (I like pineapple, bananas and cranberries) and you won’t even taste the green stuff!
So What Happens If You STILL Get Sick?
Sometimes despite all your best attempts avoiding illness, you might still end up getting sick. Keep up with these best practices to minimize the illness. And of course staying hydrated and getting plenty of rest will help speed up recovery.
- If you’re a grown-up on the path to recovery, try some of these sick day activities for adults.
- There are ways to help sick kids feel better fast, including what product to use if your child has diarrhea.
- If you’re taking a trip, there are tips for keeping kids safe and healthy on vacation with a guide on what you need to pack.