Our house was hit hard with the flu this week. One of us had the flu shot in the fall, the rest did not. One of us gets the shot every year, the rest do not. This is the first time in 15-20 years that we’ve had the flu. Granted, the flu shot isn’t a guarantee you won’t get the flu, and we can attest to.
We’ve been joking all week that this is a mini-pandemic. Just like the time we had the rotavirus about 11 years ago. We could watch the clock and know exactly the time the next person would begin to show symptoms. And it wasn’t that we weren’t trying to keep ourselves clean, etc, but obviously we weren’t diligent enough. And these viruses are fast!
If we had put on our face masks when the husband came home from work ill, would we have not all caught this? I don’t know. We didn’t realize what he had until he was in full blown flu mode. Should we have made him stay in the back of the house? You betcha, but we’d already been exposed by that point. The mini-pandemic (as we’ve been jokingly calling it these last few days) shows us where we were lax in our planning, and lax in our execution.
Items to stock to prevent a mini-pandemic
- Face masks – especially with illnesses that are airborne, having face masks for those that are healthy is a good way to prevent passing the illness along. We recommend these – N95 Surgical Masks
- Lysol – We don’t ever use anti-bacterial cleaners or soaps, EXCEPT in the case where someone has a contagion. We lysol (notice that it’s a verb at our house?) down every surface we can, a few times a day, and the bathroom handles, doors more than that. (you can also make a mild bleach solution to spray on surfaces, especially in the case of norovirus). (While I love my natural cleaners during normal times, I do break out the big boys when a virus comes to visit.)
- Anti-bacterial gel – we use this even though we’ve washed hands. We use it often when someone in the family is sick. We only use it if we’re looking at trying to stop a contagion in the house. Otherwise, it’s regular soap and water.
- Gloves – yes, we use gloves when we’re dealing with the clothes, trash and clean up of someone who has a contagion.
- Disinfecting wipes – these make clean up easy!
- Kleenex – you can’t use too much tissue when you’re sick. Be safe and help keep from spreading, and dispose of properly.
You may even decide to go so far as to stock plastic sheeting to seal off a room of an infected person if it becomes necessary.
Then, of course, you must follow general guidelines to keep from spreading it. Use a clean towel all the time, wash clothes in hot water and dry thoroughly, never let the infected person prepare meals, separate the infected person from everyone healthy, flush with the toilet seat down and clean the toilet often throughout the day, don’t kiss or hug, etc. etc.
But in the event that a mini-pandemic event does come to your house, make sure you have the tools to fight it.