Keep Your Home Flu-Free

There’s nothing fun about suffering the body aches, runny or stuffy nose, and fatigue that typically come with the flu. Unfortunately, the flu is highly contagious, most often traveling via droplets made when people with the flu cough, sneeze, or talk. Beyond getting a flu shot, here’s how to keep your home as flu-free as possible:

Wash your hands—well: You may already know that washing hands is a key germ-killer. But do you wash properly? Lather with soap and scrub for 20 seconds, getting under nails, the backs of hands, and in between fingers. When you can’t wash, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.

Wipe handles & gadgets: Influenza can spread through touching something a sick person has touched or sneezed on. Be sure every spot that gets touched a lot— doorknobs, kitchen cabinets, appliance handles, stairway railings, the TV remote, and your cell phone—gets cleaned often with an alcohol-based cleaning product. If you have little kids at home, wipe down those toys!

Keep hands away from your face: Germs are often spread when you touch something contaminated and then touch your eyes, nose, or mouth.

Get a humidifier: When absolute humidity (the water vapor in the air) is low, as it tends to be in winter months in temperate regions, influenza appears to survive longer and transmission rates increase.

Use an air purifier: High-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters can remove nearly 98 percent of virus particles.