With the end of the year approaching and the winter cold beginning to settle in, it is important to keep your house clean as colds and flu viruses are more easily caught and held onto during the winter months. If a family member starts sneezing due to the cold, damp conditions of winter, chances are they are already exhibiting flu symptoms. It is too late for them; they’ve probably caught it through a person at work or passing by a coughing person on the street. Still, to avoid extended colds, and to help prevent the rest of the family from catching it, there are some key tips to follow.
This doesn’t necessarily mean keeping the house warm. A warm, moist house can actually breed more germs than a cold house (but not too cold, as damp can settle in!), as germs find it harder to survive in harsh conditions. Shivering has been known to depress the immune system, as does a lack of sunlight which alters serotonin and melatonin levels, which means that any viruses we catch can take longer to get over. Keep yourself warm by covering up, and don’t forget that 30% of your body heat is lost through your head, so wrap your head up in some stylish head gear.
Wash your Hands
This may seem pretty obvious, but it is easily forgotten. Washing the hands for 20 seconds with soap and warm water, as opposed to just a quick rinse with cold water has proven to massively reduce the risk of spreading cold and flu viruses. Also think about what your hands touch regularly; door handles, credit cards and light switches can all be hotbeds of harmful activity. Sterilise them! Disinfectant spray, or even plain vinegar can help to kill germs on likely surfaces.
No tissues? Sneeze into your elbow
If you were unlucky in infection and you are now the proud owner of a red and runny nose, you can prevent the spread of infection by covering your mouth with your elbow when you need to sneeze. It is always preferable to keep a box of tissues to hand, but sometimes there are none available (probably from you having used them all) or there just isn’t enough time. Sneezing into your elbow prevents the germs from getting onto your hands, where they can easily spread.
Deep clean your furniture!
Sounds a little weird, but it is because in the winter months, families are more likely to snuggle up close on the sofa, or share a chair. Cold and cosy, but these can also breed germs, as they cling to the surfaces and can breed and spread. Make sure to regularly wash blankets in the washing machine, and for the seating areas you can use a vacuum or hire a professional cleaner.
It’s hard to completely avoid getting a cold during the Winter, some families even consider it a tradition, but you can at least stop it from spreading to other members of your family, or minimise your cold ‘down time’ by following these steps and keeping clean.
Erin Calloway is a lifestyle blogger who has contributed this post.