Tips for Cleaning Your Apartment During Cold and Flu Season
Chicago has nearly 3 million people living in its midst. During cold and flu season, imagine how many germs are making its way through the city and in your apartment. When you consider that last year, a record 79,400 people in the U.S. died from the flu, you’ll want to reduce your chances of getting sick.
Prevention is the best way to keep from getting the cold or flu this coming winter. And, much of that prevention lies is keeping your apartment home germ-free of all those nasty cold and flu bugs. Here are our tips for cleaning your apartment during the coming cold and flu season.
Minimize the Transfer of Germs Before You Get Into Your Apartment
During the height of the flu season, there’s no shame in wearing a flu mask when you’re out in high traffic areas. When you think about it, it’s almost unavoidable to come into contact with sick people all around Chicago. But, you can lessen the chances of getting whatever they have, whether it’s a miserable cold or flu.
Try to avoid touching things. Wear gloves when out and avoid touching your eyes, nose, and face. Once in your apartment building, keep tissues handy to press elevator buttons or other common areas used by other tenants. Discard the tissue before getting into your apartment.
Clean and Disinfect the Surfaces of Your Apartment Often
The CDC says people are susceptible to flu viruses for up to 48 hours once the virus has made its way onto a surface. The good news is that the flu is fairly responsive to standard cleaning protocols. You don’t need any special cleaning procedures, like bleach and water, to kill the viruses. You just need to clean surfaces with a standard household cleaner.
You should use one that states that it’s effective against the influenza A virus. Also, be aware that the terms of cleaning/washing might mean something different than disinfecting. For instance, if you are simply cleaning something, usually wiping with the product is all that’s necessary. But, some products require you to leave them on a surface for 3 to 5 minutes before it acts as a disinfectant. Read the label of your cleaning product to find out.
But, the key is to clean surfaces that are touched most frequently. These items are usually doorknobs (particularly those going in and out of your apartment), cell phones, remote controls, computers, light switches, faucet handles, toilet handles, refrigerator handles, and kitchen and bathroom countertops. In some cases, you may be able to use disinfecting wipes, but you’ll have to change them out frequently. Just be sure to wear gloves and follow the safety protocol on products used.
Use Extra Precautions When Coming Into Your Apartment
For instance, take your shoes off right at the front door of your apartment. This can help prevent the spreading of germs from your shoes.
After bringing items in from shopping, wash your hands before putting items away and then again after you’ve put your items away.
Consider buying extra containers of sanitizing wipes that have protection against cold and flu viruses. Clean surfaces and countertops often with the wipes to prevent the spread of germs. Also, buy alcohol-based sanitizing wipes for everyone to use on their hands.
But remember that nothing beats a good old-fashioned washing of hands. If you have children, corral them together and have everyone make their way to the bathroom to wash hands before doing anything else. Use warm water and soap and make sure everyone scrubs their hands for at least 20 seconds.
If the Flu or a Cold Makes its Way Into Your Apartment
Sometimes, in spite of our efforts to prevent it, a cold or flu virus still makes someone in our home sick. At that point, the key is to keep it from spreading to the rest of the family. From there, it’ll be a pretty big job to keep it in check. That’s not easy, but it is possible. Here are some steps that’ll help.
- As detailed previously, clean often, paying attention to items that are used most often.
- Avoid sharing towels and other household items between a sick family member and the rest of the family.
- It’s best to keep the patient in one room and the rest of the family in another. Quarantines are never fun, but they are necessary for keeping everyone else from getting sick.
- Encourage everyone to cover their coughs and sneezes to prevent the spread of any bugs to each other.
- Put alcohol-based sanitizers in each room and encourage everyone to wipe their hands often with one. Encourage them to dispose of them in the garbage can rather than leaving it on a table or another place where someone else will touch it.
- Sanitize any items used by a sick member of the family. Once you touch something of theirs, wash your hands thoroughly.
- Clean and disinfect the apartment often, again, paying attention to common areas and items touched frequently.
It can take a lot of focus and extra steps to keep your Chicago apartment and your family safe this winter season. But, it’ll be well worth it to ensure that everyone is as healthy as possible.
You want to consider hiring a professional cleaning agency to give your apartment a thorough cleaning during the cold and flu season.
If someone does bring the flu virus home, once it seems the crisis has passed, consider hiring a cleaning agency to do a thorough cleaning of your apartment. By then, you’ll be exhausted from carrying the extra burden of caring for sick loved ones or being ill yourself. But, you’ll no doubt want to ensure that any germs left behind are gone for good.