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The Clean-Up Act: Preventing the Spread of Disease at Home

Various reports reveal that one of the leading reasons why common diseases spread in schools is because of the often-uncontrollable habit of young children.

Say, one child is already sick with a cold and cough, there’s no stopping his interaction with his classmates. He will hold hands after coughing or sneezing into his hand, borrow things, and share food during recess. Cross-contamination easily takes place, and not just among the students; the teachers figure in it as well.

A similar thing happens in the home. Certain practices lead to the spread of disease-carrying germs. So, if your family often gets sick with cold and cough that you need a big stock of cough medicine every year, it’s crucial to identify the bad habits the entire family has that results in cross-contamination.

Here are some bad habits that health professionals say are the typical mistakes committed at home that cause diseases to proliferate, as well as what you should do to correct them.

Not throwing tissues in the trash bin right away

This is a common habit among people who stay home from school or work when they are sick. They leave the tissues that they have coughed or blown their noses into everywhere instead of throwing them directly into the trash bin.

Good practice: Provide a sick person a small trash bin he or she can throw tissues in. Empty the bin for them once it’s full, and spray it with a disinfectant or alcohol after.

Not airing out the house when a member is sick

A lot of families greatly enjoy the cool air indoors provided by the house AC system. The problem is when a family member is down with a cough and cold, using the AC all the time can trap viruses inside the home.

Good practice: Give the AC a rest for about an hour or two. Turn on the fans and open the windows and doors. Disperse stuffy air and spray your home with a disinfecting air deodorizer. Or use an aroma diffuser to freshen up indoor air with essential oils.

Ignoring remote controls or gaming consoles when cleaning

These devices are constantly handled, especially when family members are at home, sick. People who are down with the flu or a typical cold typically only do two things at home when they miss work or school: they sleep and watch TV.

Therefore, remote controls and gaming consoles get contaminated and harbor disease-carrying bacteria and germs that get transmitted among the rest of the family that also use the same devices.

Good practice: Always clean these devices using a disinfecting wipe. Be quite thorough by making sure to use a cotton swab dipped in rubbing alcohol to clean around the buttons. And, do the same for other shared devices you have at home such as tablets, and the computer keyboard.

Piling towels on top of each other

This is a common practice among big families. When there aren’t enough racks or hooks to hold bath towels in the bathroom, everybody just puts his or her towel on top of another.

This is a big no-no even when nobody is sick but even more so when somebody is. It doesn’t matter if the one with the cold has just cleaned himself in the shower. His breath is enough to transmit the virus onto his towel, which comes in contact with another family member’s towel.

Good practice: Completely stop the piling practice by installing more hanging racks or hooks for the towels. And, allow the sick person to change towels every day.

Using the same hand kitchen towel for too long

Most families assume that the kitchen towel is not used that often anyway because of the quickly consumed paper towels. Thus, it’s not necessary to replace it right away with a fresh one.

Good practice: Whether or not the kitchen towel gets used often, it’s better to be on the safe side and replace it every couple of days — especially if you have young children at home. You may not see them much using the towel, but they do — and quite often, for things that they shouldn’t be using the kitchen towel for such as to clean their mouths and faces.

Not bothering to disinfect pillows and mattresses

A lot of people get too lazy to disinfect pillows and mattresses before replacing sheets and pillow covers. It is a tiresome chore, after all.

Good practice: Invest in a wet and dry vacuum to use for the mattress. If it’s too pricey an investment, you can turn to a professional cleaning service, which is equipped with the best tools for cleaning.

Also, make it a habit to wash the pillows every week. Wash them in hot water, and place them in the dryer after where they will not only dry fast but also get disinfected further by the heat.

Home is the best place to recover from an illness. So, make sure that it’s appropriately clean and cross-infection is a low likelihood by performing these tidying acts religiously.