Viral infections can sometimes have a knock-on effect. One family member falls sick, and soon enough other members of the household are also affected. Well, that’s usually because one person suffering from sickness can leave behind germs of cold and flu that remain glued to household items and surfaces for days to come.

The importance of disinfecting our homes properly can act as a shield against most bacterial assaults. But you may have a lot of questions in mind when it comes to executing the task: do I need a really strong solution or would something simple suffice?

Should I disinfect the entire home or just focus on items that really matter? How to use towels and sponges with disinfectant sprays? To be sure, you will also want to know which habits to adapt to avoid infectious diseases. Read on to find out answers to these important questions in order to equip yourself with all the preventive tools needed to stop the erratic cycle of illness that can inflict sickness on the home.

Common household sources of germs

No matter how meticulous you are in looking after your health, germs can manage to spread in every nook and cranny of your house. Listed below are five most common places in your home that are likely to cause issues if not cleaned properly.

The kitchen: Kitchen items such as dish sponges, rags, the sink, cutting board, appliances, and refrigerator remain contaminated most of the times and this is where germ life thrives.  

Switches and knobs: Bathroom light switches, stove knobs and fridge, and door handle also house infectious bacteria. These are less-than-obvious places for germs but need all your attention nevertheless.

The bathroom: Bathroom faucets are a major source of bugs responsible for causing flu and cold. The sink and the toilet, likewise, brim with bacteria that have the ability to grow and spread.

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Remote controls: You are probably going to hold your remote even during lunch and dinner. Such relentless use this device makes it a highly likely carrier of harmful microorganisms.  

Pets: If you don’t have a separate bed for the paws inside your home, you probably are inviting trouble. True, you love your pet and they are too adorable to ignore, but unfortunately, they help transport germs to every corner of the house.

What to disinfect, and how to do it

You should disinfect the most common places and items of germs on a priority basis. And you already know those places and items. How to perform disinfection is where we lack adequate knowledge. Remember to use different techniques and tools for different sources of germs to disinfect home.  Here is how you can disinfect common germ sources inside the home.

Keep the kitchen clean: How to clean the kitchen sink is a tricky part of this. Do not use sponges to clean the sink and countertop as it is bound to aggravate the concentration of germs. Instead, use disinfectant wipes on these objects as well as on refrigerator surfaces. Sponges should be sterilised by heating in a microwave for a minute. Soaking sponges in a quart of warm water with a little mixing of concentrated bleach is not a bad idea either. Importantly, changing dish towels a few times a week also helps curb bacteria spread.

Decontaminating switches and knobs: Here too, you can use disinfecting wipes to clean these spots, at least once a week. Do not forget to use a new wipe for each object, for using the same wipe on all spots would only bring more contamination.

Disinfecting the bathroom: A major chunk of your focus should be on your bathroom during home cleaning. You should replace your toothbrush every four to five months. Your towels need to be washed or replaced at least once a week.  As for cleaning the floor, handles, and sinks, you should be using a disinfectant on a daily basis. Use a brush on narrow spaces around drains and faucets to prevent accumulation of grime in those areas.

Adopting healthy habits to avoid diseases

Simple things that we can adopt in our daily routine can really help promote hygiene around the home. Such habits that help keep diseases away include the following.

Keeping things clean: As simple as that! You can do this using regular household cleanliness toolkits and prevent accumulation of germs. A common example of this is making sure the microwave you use to heat your food is cleaned after use.

Washing your hands before and after meals: Again, a fairly simple practice that doesn’t require much to do. Experts recommend washing hands for 20 to 30 seconds with regular water and soap to remove all the germs and prevent disease. Hands must also be washed after using the bathroom.

Using gloves: Food safety is absolutely essential to fend off most bacterial diseases. One way of keeping your foodstuff and crockery items germ-free is to use nitrile gloves. It is important to use a new pair of gloves every time.

Installing hand sanitisers on your walls: This practice is usually adopted in hospitals. But let us not forget this is needed in our homes too, considering our exposure to several germ-coated objects as well as animals. Having a hand-sanitiser outside every room will greatly help control the spread of germs from one place to the other. This is also said to be the best way to prevent cold.

According to the South Australian Healthcare-associated Infection Surveillance Program, 69% of infections take place in wounds and skin. Since germs spread from person to surface and not the other way around, this pretty much makes clear how germs spread and proliferate in the house and how you and your family members end up catching bugs in tandem. This doesn’t mean you should stop doing what you love or having fun, but just being a bit more focused on hygiene as we go about it.

What is hay fever?

Hay fever occurs when your immune system overreacts to an outdoor allergen, such as pollen. Most homes can have a garden that is not maintained properly, allowing pollen to thrive. The most common allergens are pollens from wind-pollenated plants, such as trees, grasses, and weeds.

What are symptoms of seasonal allergies?

Symptoms may include: - sneezing - runny or stuffy nose - watery and itchy eyes - itchy sinuses, throat, or ear canals - ear congestion Always book a GP appoointment if you experience one of these symptoms and they don't go away.

In case you do have someone sick and needing medical attention, finding the nearest GP is easier than ever. HealthEngine lets you find and book with a GP easily.

All content and media on the HealthEngine Blog is created and published online for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice and should not be relied on as health or personal advice. Always seek the guidance of your doctor or other qualified health professional with any questions you may have regarding your health or a medical condition. Never disregard the advice of a medical professional, or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this Website. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor, go to the nearest hospital emergency department, or call the emergency services immediately.