It’s the Cold & Flu Season once again! Welcome to the world of sniffles, coughs, sore throat, and chills spreading at lightning speed through schools, homes, and offices. It’s getting harder to remember what it was like a couple of years ago – today, every sneeze is regarded with suspicion, thanks to Covid-19. What we tend to forget in the overwhelming response to the pandemic is that those pesky cold viruses and allergens are still around. They haven’t gone anywhere. They’re still lurking in your carpets and rugs, ready to strike if you haven’t washed your hands when you get home after school or work. Here are 5 home cleaning tips to keep the colds away as much as possible!
The Common Cold
Before you attack it, it’s good to know all about the enemy – the common cold. If you have symptoms such as a running or stuffy nose, chest congestion, slightly raised body temperature, headache and body ache, and a general feeling of not being well, it could be an attack of any one of the 200+ types of viruses that cause the common cold.
Infants and young children, those having a weak immune system, senior citizens, smokers, and those exposed to crowds are vulnerable to attacks, while the general population is at risk at certain times of the year, such as fall and winter. Summer colds, spring allergies, and hay fever can spread at other times of year. Colds may sometimes lead to secondary infections such as sinusitis, ear infection, or pharyngitis.
There is no “cure” for the cold, and as the medical joke goes, “It’s curable in seven days with medication. And in one week without!” Antibiotics don’t work, and you’re creating antibiotic-resistant superbugs. There are several myths about colds, the most common being that you catch them by exposure to cold drinks, food, or weather. The reality is that you can only make the patient comfortable and wait it out with the following:
- Relieve body pain, headaches, and sore throat
- Try home remedies such as sipping hot lemon juice with honey, warm chicken soup, herbal teas, warm fruit juices
- OTC cough and cold medication but not for young children
- Steam inhalation
Vitamin C, zinc supplements, and echinacea have mixed results, but talk to your doctor before taking them.
If you’re confused about whether your symptoms indicate a cold or an allergy, here are some pointers:
Viruses cause colds; allergies are immune responses to certain allergens. Allergies never give you a fever, or general aches and pains. Instead, you may have itchy eyes and throat, sneezing, coughing, which are all similar symptoms. However, you can treat allergies with antihistamines, nasal sprays and avoid exposure to known triggers.
5 Home Cleaning Tips To Keep The Colds Away
It goes without saying that a clean, hygienic home can prevent you and your family from catching a cold. Wear a mask and gloves when cleaning to avoid catching an infection while you work. There’s no alternative to regular cleaning. It lowers your daily workload and ensures that there are no breeding or resting places for germs.
- Clean, Fresh Air:Cold viruses spread through droplet infection and are airborne. Service your temperature control systems well ahead of winter so that it’s clean and fresh. Replace air filters regularly. Though it’s cold outside, it’s important to turn off the heating system and open the windows wide to let fresh air in. Wrap up and stay snug while you do this. Keep the invigorating ozone coming in for at least 5 – 10 minutes before shutting the windows. This keeps the air inside fresh and blows out nasty germs. Keep the house dry and well-ventilated.
- Gadgets, Handles, and Knobs:Everything from the doorknob to your phone is a potential germ carrier. Use a natural, eco-friendly disinfectant to wipe door handles, knobs, switches, countertops, cabinet doors, and drawers. The bedposts, headboard, and closet doors are other surfaces that are often touched but neglected when wiping them down. Viruses love to breed in phones, remotes, and computers. Gather your phones, tablets, iPods, TV, and other remotes and chargers in a caddy and give them a thorough wipe, being careful not to wet them directly. Wipe dry with a fresh microfiber cloth. Use the same method on your laptops and desktop, taking care to clean between the keys, and dry off with a microfiber cloth or glove.
- Sunny Days: Statistics show that a damp towel takes only 15 minutes to become a breeding ground for bacteria and allergens. If someone has a cold in the house, ensure that their towel is kept far away from others. Sunlight is the most powerful, simplest, and eco-friendly disinfectant. Look for bright sunny days and hang out carpets, rugs, mats, sheets, and pillow-cases for at least 2 hours and ensure they get the most sun exposure. Sheets, blankets, and towels can be washed at a high heat setting, adding a cup full of vinegar. While taking dirty laundry to the washing machine, avoid contact with it as much as possible. For example, carry the laundry hamper or basket to the machine rather than hugging the pile to your chest while carrying it in your arms.
- Toys: If your kids have caught a cold, you’ll have to wash them thoroughly in warm soapy water with a cupful of bleach. Check if soft toys can go in the washing machine. Dry the toys out thoroughly and ration them out a few at a time so that kids don’t touch all of them at the same time. Keep books and other stationery in a sunny window when they’re not being used.
- Clean Your Cleaning Equipment:Don’t forget your cleaning equipment when you’re done cleaning! By now, it’s probably contaminated and bristling with bacteria, just waiting to be transferred to a welcoming place. Use disposable materials as much as possible, but ensure they are disposed of carefully. Sanitize all rags, towels, and cleaning cloths. Remove stains with a stain remover or bleach. Wash them on high heat setting in the washing machine and dry them outside in the sunlight. Store them in individual air-tight bags for the next round of cleaning.
Take a shower or wash your hands before you touch anything after cleaning.
These 5 tips can help to keep your living space germ-free. You will have to develop a cleaning routine that you can stick to throughout the flu season. If you’re too busy or unable to cope, call in a reliable, professional cleaner for the best results.