Washington: A self-described germ freak has revealed that cold and flu viruses can stay alive on surfaces for up to three hours. (Gross!) And there are certain spots in our homes that are particularly infested. So click through the slideshow below to learn the 7 best ways to rid your house of what`s been "going around."
Allison Janse, co-author of `The Germ Freak`s Guide To Outwitting Colds and Flu`, starts with advising people to throw disposable paper towels - use throw-away cleaning tools exclusively while there are sick people at home. If you do use a sponge or brush to wash dishes, clean these items in your dishwasher every day.
Scrub the bathroom sink - this area is a flu and cold hotspot, so make sure to disinfect it well. Clean out the bowl, faucet and knobs with a disinfectant on a daily basis. And make sure to pay careful attention to a communal toothbrush holder.
In fact, it`s best not to store your family`s toothbrushes together so there is no cross-contamination, and don`t share the toothpaste either. It goes without saying to replace your toothbrush or boil it in the microwave after your sickness as well. Lastly, don`t forget to wipe the bathroom`s light switch and doorknob.
Make sure your products disinfect - to wipe up your home, use cleaners that specifically say "disinfectant" on the label so you aren`t just pushing around germs. Clorox products work great, says Janse, and she especially loves the disposable wipe. Although some people are concerned their homes will build up a resistance.
You can use any hand soap - surprisingly, a study published in 2004 in the Annals Of Internal Medicine showed that those who use antibacterial soap had the same number of colds and flu than people who used regular soap. Just make sure to wash with warm water for 20-25 seconds.
Disinfect these common culprits - items like your remote, game controls, computer keyboards and cell phones should be sanitized regularly, but especially after you`ve been sick with the flu. Use a spray disinfectant and let it sit for several minutes and air dry.
Launder linens every day - towels and bedding are crawling with germs when they`re used by a sick individual, so Janse suggests washing these items in the machine daily while they`re ill using the hot water setting, especially pillowcases and face towels.
Sleep on the sofa - if your spouse or partner is under the weather, it`s best to sleep in the guest room or crash on the couch for a couple of nights. Even though it may not be as comfortable, you may spare yourself from the flu.