Sick Season: How to help clean the flu out of your home

sick season: clean house

DOWNTOWN TOLEDO, (WTOL) - Our local health officials say the flu season may not have peaked yet, and is still urging people to get a flu shot.

If it hasn’t happened in your home, you’ve heard the stories: Someone in your family gets the flu, and you can’t seem to get it out of your house.

There are things you can do to lessen the chances of getting sick.

“If you’re consoling a young one, having their chin up kind of by the shoulder to kind of cough away from your face so they’re not coughing right on you is another thing that you can try to make sure you’re not breathing that in, and then just really, really good hand washing," Lauren Wagener, Epidemiologist for Toledo-Lucas County Health Department said.

Rather than waiting for the weather to break, there's some things you can do to try and kill these germs for good.

The first three to five days are the most contagious. For smaller children, that time frame can last for up to 10 days.

You can still get the flu after symptoms are gone, so make sure you're disinfecting all hard surfaces. Most cleaners whether they're wipes or sprays will tell you if they kill the flu virus.

Don’t forget toys and the inside of your car. Fabrics aren’t as big of a risk, but it doesn’t hurt to throw that favorite blanket in the wash.

And of course, with flu season often lasting into May it's still not too late to get the flu shot if you haven't yet.

So when should you or your kids stay home?

“If they're not acting normal and they're not at their baseline activity and you kind of suspect maybe there's something going on it's not, it can't hurt to hold them back just to make sure that they're not spreading anything to any other children or anything like that, but typically we say 24 hours after their is gone away without the use of medication,” Wagener said.

So far this season, Lucas County has seen 190 flu hospitalizations. That’s compared to about 500 this time last year, and the severity of the illness is lower.

This year's flu shot is already more effective than last year's vaccine.

New CDC findings suggest the flu shot reduced the risk of illness by 47 percent.

The effectiveness of the vaccine at this time last year was 36 percent.

Copyright 2019 WTOL. All rights reserved.