No matter how prepared you think you are, whenever the first sign of sniffles arrives you find yourself double-checking what to do for the flu. Sure we all have our own personal cure-alls at hand (ok, we know our mother's chicken soup recipe is somewhere) but the truth is, you just want the house to be decontaminated so you can get well soon as quick as possible. There's just too much to do!
So don't be unprepared: here's a quick checklist of things you should have in your home at the onset of flu season.
Paper towels, Paper Plates, and Paper Cups
You'll probably be too drained for clean-up (and let's face it, you can't rely on anyone else to pick up slack), so off the bat picking up disposable plates, and cups is a great plan. And switching up your regular dish towels for paper towels is wise because germs can get stuck in fabrics. Think about how much your mouth, the harbinger of bacteria, interacts with kitchenware. Keeping away from the good china is essential if you want to stop the spread of germs.
Point blank: hand sanitizer should not be the go-to move before properly washing your hands. Given the choice, classic soap and warm water is the best way to erase the virus...for the time being. However, if you're unable to hole up at home and heal the entire time (someone has to run to CVS), then you want to keep a bottle of Purell with upwards of 60% alcohol in your purse. In fact, make sure everyone in the family has one on hand, so this doesn't become a never-ending sickness.
Disinfectant Spray or Wipes
Again, this falls under the dual category of "don't have time to clean" and "stop the spread of germs in one fell swoop." Disinfecting spray works fine if you already have it in the house—and naturally you have paper towels at the ready. But we find the wipes to be a bit more efficient in the long run, a one-stop fix for when you've sneezed all over the coffee table.
This one probably rings as obvious, we get it. We just believe that when it comes to tissues there are so many options to choose from. And you're free to go generic, we just think you should treat your nose kindly when you're feeling so rotten. Kleenex Cool Touch is amazingly true to it's name, refreshingly chill. The Lotion-infused option is good when you need something extra soft when your nose has run raw. And Anti-Viral is a smart option for, you guessed it, reducing germ spread.
There's a lot of back and forth about whether humidifiers are first-rate flu-fighters or not. One study from the Oregon Department of Health Services states that dry air helps disseminate the virus and you can combat that by injecting moisture into the air with the device. Whether it's a magical cure-all or not, humidifiers will help decongest your nasal and throat passages. That in itself may be worthwhile when you're having a hard time breathing.
Laundry Detergent and Dish Soap
Make sure you're not out towards the tail end of your cold...or if you're meticulous about cleanliness and can't hold back from our "don't do housework!" warnings. Refreshing your bedsheets, pillowcases, and towels should always be priority number one, so have plenty of laundry detergent for those loads. And if it's hard to avoid ceramics altogether—you can't put tea and soup in a Dixie cup—then make sure to give them a thorough run-through with anti-bacterial dish soap.