Create a healthy home and ‘beat the bugs’ this winter
It's no fun being sick or caring for a sick baby, or worst of all, trying to do both at once. Head off illness by practising simple hygiene and cleaning routines.
Creating a healthy home is easier to achieve than you think. Here’s how…
Make handwashing a priority for everyone
Family members, visitors and everyone entering the house should wash their hands frequently - before eating or preparing food and after using the bathroom, coming in from outside, playing with or caring for pets, caring for someone who is sick, and so on. Make sure soap, water, and clean towels are always available.
Banish food-borne illnesses
For adults or older children, a food-borne illness is unpleasant, but usually not dangerous. Not so for babies and toddlers, whose immune systems aren’t as ready to tackle tough bacteria. For everyone’s sake, keep bugs at bay with the following tips:
- Wash your hands in soapy water before, during and after you prepare food. Be especially meticulous when you handle raw meat, poultry, fish or eggs.
- Stock up on cutting boards. Keep one for produce and another for proteins like meat and fish. Put them in the dishwasher after each use or scrub them with hot, soapy water. You also want to replace them when they get scarred and pitted as bacteria love to make a home in crevices.
- Keep hot food ‘hot’ and cold food ‘cold’.
- Frequently wipe surfaces like countertops, handles and doorknobs with disinfectant, and regularly wash kitchen rags, sponges and towelsregularly.
- Avoid cross-contamination. Don’t place cooked food in a dish that previously held raw meat or veggies, as bacteria can transfer onto the cooked food.
Since you spend most of the night in your bed, you’ll want that environment to be a healthy one. Wash sheets once a week in warm or hot water - more often, if anyone falls ill. Crib sheets need more frequent changing since they’re prone to be covered in all manner of leaks, spills, dribbles and drool.
If you have dogs or cats, get them their own cosy beds and discourage them from sharing yours or your child’s. Their furry coats can harbour germs, allergens and fleas, none of which make for good bedfellows for your family.
Even if your mattress looks clean, it could still be covered with pests, their faeces, body fluids and bacteria. Vacuum your mattress at least once a week and have it deep cleaned at least once a year.
Stop illness from spreading
As a rule, assign personal items like toothbrushes and towels to one person. Colour code them, clean them regularly and store used towels far apart enough from one another (at least an inch for toothbrushes), so germs don’t get passed back and forth.
Pay extra attention to healthy home routines when anyone in your household is ill. Be compulsive about handwashing, put your washing machine in overdrive, stock up on tissues, wipe down bathroom surfaces more frequently and replace toothbrushes.
Leave shoes by the welcome mat
Ask family members and visitors to remove their shoes before coming inside, especially if you have a crawling baby. That way, the dirt, bacteria and any choking hazards will be left at the door, and not on the floors where your baby could be spending their days.
Put allergens on alert
If anyone in your house suffers from airborne allergies, make your home healthier by reducing allergens such as dust mites, mould and pet dander.
- Consider buying a vacuum cleaner with a HEPAfilter, which will trap dust mites and other allergens. Also install high-quality filters on your furnace and air-conditioning units, and replace them frequently.
- If you have pets, have a talk with your allergist about the best ways to minimise potential allergic reactions. Sometimes keeping them out of certain rooms (such as your child’s bedroom) can help.
- Wash bedding once a week.
- Cut back on stuffed animals. Dust mites love them almost as much as your child does. Only keep one or two stuffed animals, and wash these in a gentle spin in the washing machine weekly. You could also freeze out dust mites by stashing them in the freezer overnight.
- If your house is damp, run a dehumidifier to keep mould at bay. Let out steam from the kitchen, laundry and bathroom by opening windows or using exhaust fans.
Populate with plants
Bring nature indoors and your lungs will thank you. Air filtering plants don't just make your rooms look pretty, they detox your home by removing pollutants like ammonia (found in cleaning products) and formaldehyde (found in furniture). Instead of placing a plant here and a plant there, create group displays in each room for a maximum air-cleaning effect.
Article courtesy ofwww.expertcarpetcleaning.co.za
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