How to limit risk of flu at home

Three more people have died in Spokane County from the flu, two over the weekend and one on Monday. Experts say this is the worst flu season the nation has seen in eight years and Spokane County is among the hardest hit areas of the state, with 18 deaths so far this season, according to the Spokane Regional Health District.

There are a few simple steps you can take to limit your family’s risk of the flu at home. Mark Springer, SRHD epidemiologist, said people usually don’t have to buy any special product to kill the virus.

“Flu can be eliminated from surfaces with your typical disinfectant agent. So, you know, you don’t have to get anything special or necessarily use something that’s bleach based or anything like that,” Springer said.

He noted that one of the most important things you can do is wash your hands regularly.

“The biggest thing you can do at home is practicing good respiratory etiquette, in the sense of preventing other people we’re living with from getting the flu. We want to make sure that we are washing our hands, especially if we are coughing or sneezing into them,” Springer said. “We want to make sure that we are coughing or sneezing into our elbow or into clothing. We also want to make sure that if we are having symptoms, that we are minimizing our exposure to other people.”

The CDC lists these actions as best practices daily to prevent the spread of the flu:

Try to avoid close contact with sick people.
While sick, limit contact with others as much as possible to keep from infecting them.
If you are sick with flu symptoms, CDC recommends that you stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone except to get medical care or for other necessities. (Your fever should be gone for 24 hours without the use of a fever-reducing medicine.)
Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
Wash your hands often with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub.
Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. Germs spread this way.
Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that may be contaminated with germs like the flu.

Some local hospitals have implemented visitor restrictions during the flu season. Read more here.