The Guide • 3-25-20
Close-knit families share many things together,
including meals, vacations and sometimes illnesses.
When living in close quarters with others, it’s not
surprising that stomach bugs or colds get passed
around among members of the household.
Germs, bacteria and viruses can spread easily through
the air and on surfaces. According to Healthwatch
England, once introduced into the home, it’s possible for certain viruses and bacteria to live on nonporous surfaces for
hours and even days. However, The Mayo Clinic says that, while it’s possible to catch the u or a cold after handling an
object an infected person sneezed or coughed on a few moments ago, personal contact with an infected person —
such as a handshake or breathing in droplets from a cough or sneeze — is the most common way germs are spread.
While it’s not possible to avoid the family entirely when ill, there are some steps that individuals can take to help
staunch the spread of illness at home, in school and around the oce.
Wash hands regularly
Good hand hygiene is the most eective way to prevent the spread of germs. Hands should be washed before eating,
after preparing food, after coughing, after touching items in public areas, and after using the restroom.
Clean hygiene hot spots in the home
It’s impossible to kill every germ in the home, but regular cleaning and disinfecting high-risk areas can prevent illness
from spreading, especially when one family member is ill. Areas to concentrate on include:
• kitchen sink
• bathroom faucets
• light switches
• toilet handle
• remote controls
• refrigerator handle
Keep your distance
Steer clear of sick individuals as much as possible. When sick, cover your mouth or nose with a tissue when coughing
or sneezing. Discard any used tissues promptly and wash hands afterward. Couples who sleep together may want to
use separate rooms or camp on the sofa for a few nights until symptoms abate. Don’t be shy about using latex gloves
when cleaning up vomit or diarrhea.
Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth
Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth when someone in the home is ill. These mucus areas are easily contaminated
and can be sources of entry for germs.
Some evidence suggests that eradicating all germs can aect the body’s natural ability to ght infection. Therefore,
routinely clean with soap and water, but do not overdo it with regard to your use of chemical disinfectants or hand
Ensuring an illness does not become rampant in a home can be a challenge, but it is possible when members of the
household emphasize hygiene and homes are regularly cleaned.