With the COVID-19 pandemic in its third year and flu season once again upon us, it’s in everyone’s best interest to be extra vigilant about the spread of germs. Unfortunately, without even realizing it, many of us engage in behaviors that result in germ propagation. As many people have come to discover over the last few years, unsafe behavior on the part of a single member of your household or business can make everyone sick. Anyone looking for effective ways to prevent the spread of germs in their workplace or home would do well to consider the following pointers.

Be Vigilant About Cleaning

While few people relish the act of cleaning, you’d be hard-pressed to find someone who doesn’t enjoy having a clean home or place of work. In addition to being aesthetically pleasing and conducive to stress relief, a clean workplace can also be a boon to your germ-eradication efforts.

This is particularly true in the case of kitchens, bathrooms, and other high-traffic areas of households. In addition to wiping down your kitchen on a daily basis, make a point of giving any bathrooms in your home a thorough scrub at least once a week. Additionally, depending on how large your family is and how much use these areas receive, it may be necessary to clean them on an even more frequent basis.

You should also prohibit the wearing of shoes in your house. Not only will wearing shoes indoors cause your floors to become dirty, but it can also spread outside germs throughout your residence. If any members of your household are adamant about wearing shoes inside the house, advise them to purchase a comfy pair of slippers or indoor shoes. By the same token, make sure anyone who’s spent time in germ-laden areas promptly changes their clothes upon returning home. Furthermore, if any members of your household are avid lovers of the great outdoors, make sure they’re equipped with antimicrobial outdoor gear.

Practice Proper Handwashing

Handwashing is among the most important and effective tenets of preventing the spread of germs. Unfortunately, a staggering number of people fail to practice proper handwashing, thereby exposing themselves and others to a wide assortment of germs. To enjoy the full benefits of handwashing, you’ll need to do it properly, so if you or anyone else in your workplace and household is unclear on the right way to wash your hands, take heed of the following pointers.

To start with, you’ll need to wet your hands with warm water. After this, turn off the tap and proceed to lather your hands and wrists with soap. Throughout the lathering process, make sure to include the backs of your hands, the spaces between your fingers, and under your nails. Next, scrub your hands for a minimum of 20 seconds before proceeding thoroughly rinse them under warm running water.

Additionally, there are many points throughout the day where handwashing is necessary. Said points include but are not limited to after using the bathroom, touching pets, handling garbage, blowing your nose, coughing and sneezing – and before handling food, sitting down to a meal, or treating a wound.

Be Particularly Careful When Visiting Medical Facilities

You should be particularly careful when visiting medical facilities. Whether you’re going in for a routine checkup, specialized procedure, or patient visit, take care to don a protective mask – preferably a KN95 or N95 – regardless of whether or not you’re required to do so. Additionally, avoid touching your face or eating without first thoroughly washing your hands. Since many medical facilities treat patients with infectious diseases, it behooves all germ-conscious individuals to remain on guard – particularly during an ongoing pandemic.

If you’re visiting a contagiously sick friend or relative in a medical facility, make a point of complying with the doctor’s instructions regarding interactions with the infected party. Bending the rules or ignoring them altogether is liable to result in you – and other members of your household – getting sick.

Isolate if Your Become Contagiously Sick

Should you become infected with a contagious illness – particularly COVID-19 – it is imperative that you practice proper isolation procedures. Not only will isolating help prevent other members of your household from becoming sick, but it can also effectively protect the people with whom they interact. Proper isolation measures include – but are not limited to – staying home, keeping as much distance as possible between yourself and other people, using a separate bathroom from the rest of your family members (provided this is possible), and not sharing personal items. Similarly, if any other member of your household becomes infected, make sure they isolate, as well.

Avoid In-Person Contact with Sick Individuals

In the interest of preventing yourself and other members of your household from getting sick, take care to avoid in-person contact with individuals who are actively ill. This is particularly important in the case of highly-infectious viruses like COVID-19 and its growing number of variants. For example, even if someone has a mild or asymptomatic case of the novel coronavirus, there’s no guarantee that the people they spread it to will be as lucky. So, regardless of how unaffected someone is by COVID-19, you’d do well to keep your distance until such time as they are fully free of infection. Even if this means drawing the ire of a family member, friend, or acquaintance, your health – and the health of the people with whom you cohabitate – is what’s truly important.

Stay Current with Vaccinations

Staying current with vaccinations can go a long way toward minimizing the spread of germs within your home. However, if you or any other members of your household suffer from medical conditions with which certain vaccines stand to create complications, get in touch with your doctor and see what they recommend. You may discover that some vaccinations are much safer than you initially thought. Furthermore, if your doctor recommends against getting a certain vaccine due to potential health complications, make sure to follow any instructions they give you regarding how to protect yourself from the virus in question.

Although many of us strive to keep our homes germ-free, we oftentimes wind up making the problem worse without even realizing it. Needless to say, with an active pandemic still in effect and flu season upon us, this is a very important time to keep household germs to the barest of minimums. So, if you’re ready to show germs the door, put the pointers outlined above to practical use.