So, a while ago I wrote a post about the spread of germs (you can read it here).
However, recently I have thought of some more nifty tricks to keep you from catching viruses from your family members, and also yourself!
Write your name on water bottles you are drinking from! In my household we generally just drink bottled water. This means half empty bottles can end up accumulating.. The water is still fine to drink, but whose water is whose?? ESPECIALLY if one of my family members or I am sick, I like to write my name in sharpie pen (other permanent markers would be fine) on the water I have been drinking so that I know what water is mine and we don’t share by accident. I have a small family and sometimes write on my mum’s bottles too, but you could just write on your own so that way you know if it doesn’t have your name on it – don’t drink it!
STERALISE YOUR TOOTHBRUSHES REGULARLY! I recently learnt that when you are contagious with a virus or bacterial infection (especially throat), that the pathogens from your saliva and mucus can live in your toothbrush for two to three WEEKS! How disgusting?! For people with compromised immune systems this is a nightmare because it’s really easy to reinfect yourself! For everybody else (and for us) it would most definitely slow down your recovery time, and you are still at risk of reinfection! To avoid this, sterilise your toothbrush head in boiling water from the kettle each time you clean your teeth when you are sick! When you are well, I would advise sterilising around twice a week just to keep it hygienic! You should change your toothbrush every 3 months, but more frequently if you notice damage to the bristles or marks of other wear and tear.
When you sleep, it’s common to dribble on your pillow.. Again, gross!! If you are sick this means all your germs are being dribbled into your pillow and living there ready for you to go and lay on again in bed the next night. I would recommend 2 sleeps on one side of the pillow and then flip it over to the fresh side with no dribble! Two more sleeps then change the pillow case! Changing your bedding regularly is important for personal hygiene anyway, but your pillow is particularly important as it is in contact with your mouth, nose and ears – the 3 most vulnerable places for germs to enter. A pillow protector is a good investment if you don’t have one, as it will absorb the saliva and can be washed/replaced easily – reducing the need to wash your pillow. HOWEVER, there is an essential pillow test that can help you to know when your pillow is due for a clean…
Give your pillow a shake, and then stretch out one arm and place the pillow over it (so your arm intersects the long end perpendicularly). If the pillow sags at both sides, I’m afraid to say it’s full of all kinds of nastiness including dead skin cells, the dreaded dribble(!), sweat, and all sorts! Time for a wash!!!
Pillows should be replaced every 2-3 years.
Wear a face covering if multiple members of your family are ill or if you are ill. You may be conscious of looking like a fool, but better safe than sorry!
There are some places that you may not remember to disinfect regularly, such as the steering wheel of your car or your keyboard at work! For quick cleaning use some antibacterial surface wipes such as the ones by Dettol.
*updated 10/02/16 after realising how few people think to disinfect their cars and how many germs live on your hands, and thus get transferred to your steering wheel to live until you pick them back up again!