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9 Essential Items You'll Need by Your Side When Battling the Flu

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No matter how prepared you think you are, we all start double-checking what we'll need to battle the flu as soon as the first sign of sniffles arrives. Sure, we all have our own personal “cure-alls” (your mother’s chicken soup recipe is basically magic), but the truth is that you still want the house to be as germ-free as possible so you or your loved ones can be back on their feet ASAP.

To help make sure you have everything you need, we’ve compiled this handy checklist of supplies you’ll want to have on-hand during cold and flu season. Take a look below to see what you should stock up on!

Paper towels, Paper Plates, and Paper Cups



You'll probably be too drained for cleanup (and chances are you won't be able to rely on anyone else to pick up the slack), so having disposable plates and cups around is your best bet. Switching up your regular dish towels for paper towels is also wise because germs can get stuck in fabrics. Think about how much your mouth — the biggest culprit for bacteria — interacts with kitchenware. Keeping away from your regular dishes is essential if you want to stop the spread of germs.

Hand Sanitizer



First of all, 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 battle the virus. However, if you're unable to hole up at home and heal the entire time, then you want to keep a bottle of Purell with 60 percent alcohol in your purse. In fact, make sure everyone in the family has one on hand, so this doesn't become a never-ending cycle of 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 quick swipe." Disinfecting spray works fine if you already have it in the house — and as we already mentioned, you should have paper towels to use with the spray instead of cloth kitchen towels. That said, we find the wipes to be a bit more efficient in the long run as a one-stop fix for when you've sneezed all over the coffee table.

Tissues



This one probably rings as being obvious — 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 ($9.05, Amazon) is amazingly true to its name with a refreshingly chill and moisturizing feel. Lotion-infused options are also good when you need something extra soft for a nose that has run raw. Of course, anti-viral is another smart option for (you guessed it) reducing the spread of germs.

A Humidifier



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 alone can make them worthwhile when you're having a hard time breathing.

Laundry Detergent and Dish Soap



Obviously, having clean, germ-free clothes, dishes, and linens will help keep the flu from spreading. Refreshing your bedsheets, pillowcases, and towels will also help you feel less icky while on the mend, so have plenty of laundry detergent for those loads. And if it's hard to avoid your ceramics dishes altogether, then make sure to give them a thorough run-through with anti-bacterial dish soap.

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