Know these hot spots where the flu virus can hide in your home

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA)  – Does this sound familiar? Your family is fighting the flu. Not the whole family. Just one person.

So, what happens to the other members of the household?  They’re living in the same home – eating in the same kitchen, using the same bathroom, sitting on the same couch, breathing the same air. Oh yeah, one more thing – living with the same flu virus among them.

Then how do you keep your home healthy when someone in your household isn’t?

With this flu season regarded as the most dangerous and deadly in years – precautions should not be ignored.

The most important thing that doctors agree is washing your hands. Over and over. And over.

Physicians also agree that hand sanitizer used in conjunction with frequent washing is another weapon in your arsenal for healthy family members.

But, could there be something lurking in your house you’re not even aware of – something that could you sick?

Turns out, there are endless hot spots in your home where germs are hiding –lots of them– and you don’t even realize it.

Dr. Michael Hatch from Florida Hospital Carrollwood has seen a lot of flu patients in recent weeks. The emergency room physician has spent time with hundreds of people diagnosing case after case. “I wash my hands constantly,” he told WFLA News Channel 8. “And, that’s what I tell my patients.”

But, he doesn’t stop there.

As he sees families fighting the flu, he arms them with additional information – crucial tips that they may not think about – including how to keep their homes healthy.

He maintains that with multiple family members, touching the same surfaces, day after day, it’s easy to spread this dangerous virus. “Little things you don’t necessarily think about that people come into contact with, then another family member comes into contact with without realizing it because it’s day-to-day habits,” said Dr. Patch.

We wanted to know the same secrets to success. So, we asked Dr. Patch for advice.

In trying to keep your entire house clean, should you coat the room with disinfectant aerosol or use single wipes? Wipes are the winner. The advice is to use early and often – everywhere. Dr. Patch points out that this one of the best ways to keep the flu from spreading to other family members.

His advice – wipe down everything, constantly. Think about certain items like the television remote, the refrigerator handle and door handles around the house. Those spots are usually touched by everyone.

He also advises family members who are battling the bug to isolate themselves, if possible, to one part of the home.

But, if that one spot is the couch, can the flu virus remain there? Absolutely. The physician advises to use aerosol disinfectant as much as possible to keep that hot spot safe for the whole family.

Another big item – don’t forget your comforter. Keep it clean and wash it as much as possible, along with the sheets. If you think about it, the person who is bundled up in that comforter is fighting a fever – and also leaving germs behind.

There’s another hot spot in your home that you may not think about. It’s something you use every morning and other family members may be using the same item as well at different times in the day… your towels.

To recap, the advice goes back to one word – washing.

Wash your hands.

Wash your towels.

Wash your linens.

Wipe down every surface you can.

Follow Melanie Michael on Facebook

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