Wellness Matters

8 Ways to Keep Your Family Healthy When Someone Comes Home with the Flu

October 05, 2016

It starts off harmless enough. Someone comes home from school or work with a case of the sniffles, feeling a little worn down. Next thing you know it’s nearly bedtime and they have a full blown fever, chills and nausea – the flu.

Now what? How can you keep the rest of the family from catching the flu? The most important method of prevention is to frequently wash your hands. Here are a few more common sense tips that will help keep the spreading of germs to a minimum.

  1. Keep the sick person’s personal items separate from everyone else's.  Don’t share pens, eating utensils, phones, towels, etc.
  2. Quarantine the sick person in a separate room away from everyone else. Typically, this would be their bedroom, but if the bedroom is shared, a sofa in another room will do the trick.
  3. Assign one person to be the primary caregiver for the sick person. Try to delegate it to the family member who is least likely to get sick. Have the caregiver wear a mask when they are in close contact to the ill family member.
  4. Wear disposable gloves if you have to touch contaminated items like tissues or drinking glasses. Wash your hands immediately after removing the gloves.
  5. Clean surfaces with a household disinfectant. This includes items such as doorknobs, phones and remote controls.
  6. Be diligent about every family member washing their hands frequently.
  7. If it is not too cold outside, open windows for good ventilation in your home.
  8. Contact your primary care provider to see if a visit or prescribed medications are a necessity.

When someone in your family becomes ill, it is important to take every precaution to keep the rest of the family healthy. It is not easy when both mom and dad are sick with the flu and still have to manage the household and care for the children. By following common-sense practices and being diligent about staying germ-free, we can try to avoid passing around the flu.

About the Author

Jennifer Azbell Walker, MD specializes in Internal Medicine at


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