Staying Flu-Free When Everyone Else In The House Is Sick

Staying Flu-Free When Everyone Else In The House Is Sick

Laure Joliet
Nov 9, 2009

I recently had the pleasure of getting the flu and being confined to a bed for the better part of 10 days. No, it wasn't H1N1, it was just the regular seasonal flu and it totally sucked. So living in a house with my boyfriend and two small children meant I could have been patient zero. Instead, we were able to keep everyone else healthy and flu free:

With the flu, you're most contagious in the 24 hours before you display symptoms (according to my doctor), so it isn't always possible to keep your germs to yourself (if you don't know you're sick) but as soon as I started to feel ill, I took certain measures to make sure I didn't transmit it anywhere. My doctor also told me that you remain contagious until 24 hours after you've stopped having a fever. I'd love to hear how others keep the flu and other seasonal colds to themselves at home, but here's what we did that seemed to work

1. No Sleeping Together: The bf was relegated to the couch downstairs so he wasn't immersed in my sickness all night long.

2. Change sheets.: After a particularly sweaty night wrestling with fever, I washed all the sheets. Who knows if this helped with germs, but it sure made the bed more comfortable.

3. Open a window: In addition to changing the sheets, I opened all the windows in the bedroom for the day to air it out, let the sun in, etc. I stayed in another room while I aired it out.

4. Coughing and sneezing into the upper sleeve. It's too easy to forget that you coughed into your hand and then touched the fridge handle. Better to keep your coughing and sneezing into your upper sleeve so your hands are relatively germ free.

5. Wipe Handles Down: This is where I tried to be good. I wiped down the fridge handle and drawer handles in the kitchen and bathroom along with doorknobs and the brita with hot soapy water and a little bit of lysol before everyone got home.

6. Stay away: As hard as it was, when everyone got home for the day, I put myself in the bedroom with the door shut to stay separate.

7. No central air: We were probably just paranoid, but our bedroom seems to connect to the girls' bedroom via the air ducts in the apartment so we made sure not to run the central heat when I was in the throes of illness.

8. Um, a mask: When I went to the doctor, they gave me a mask to wear, so I wore it that whole day and even at night (it actually helped my sore throat by keeping the air warm around my face). I wish I'd had a whole cache of these since it made coughing and sneezing a non issue.

What do you do at home to contain a sick family member? We might have gone extreme but once my bf saw how sick I was, I think we all realized how awful it would be for everyone else to get sick.

Here are some related links:
Coping with a Sick Roommate
How TO Make a Soothing Bath Soak When You're Sick
Home Infirmary: Dealing with the flu

(Image: Caitlinator's Flickr under Creative Commons License)

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