How to Clean when Flu Hits Town

by francy Dickinson                

Dear Francy; Dad is so fragile right now, just out of hospital – just getting his appetite back. He has cleaning girls and bath ladies and such in the house and I worry about the flu going around?

You should worry, anytime other people come into the home to clean or give care it is exposing the senior to germs. The recent flu outbreak can work around the country and usually it’s elderly and small children that are effected the most. So cleaning is what we do and we do it on an ongoing basis. I know it sounds boring but I am going to go over the different rules of keeping your home even cleaner than hospitals!

Keep it Clean- tips for you or your cleaning care or office staff:

  • You will find solutions at your medical supply, beauty supply, pharmacy that are concentrated and used for cleaning surfaces. You buy these and then thin them down with water and put them into spray bottles- large or small- and they are there for you to use in your cleaning all the time. A small bottle should be by your desk to go over all the surfaces of the office like the keyboard, phone, printer and anywhere you rest your hands. Do not think you are the only one using the area, others may come by and expose it and you may pick up something from place A and move it yourself back to your place B.
  • Washing solution that you can make at home is one tsp bleach with one gallon of water. This solution lasts only 24 hours. Never mix bleach with ammonia or other household cleaners such as glass cleaner, it makes a nasty gas that will sicken you.
  • Bleach is what kills most germs, but some surfaces will be harmed by bleach so you can look for solutions that have other solutions and use those. I have a product called Amazing that I buy at the dollar store – it has bleach in it and I use it all over the house, all the time.
  • You can also buy pop up – pre moistened- towels with bleach mixture on them. They’re easy to use and you can get them in large quantities at Walmart, Costco and other box stores. Use the towel for one area or room at a time and then throw it away. They are very easy to teach children to use in their own bathrooms and bedroom areas. I think kids need to know how not to spread germs at an early age.
  • Get in a habit of using the pre moistened towels as you enter a shopping area and use a cart. Most stores have them for your use now, so go over the handle and area around the cart and throw them away. Have the small bottles of liquid cleaner in your purse, car and office desk, as well as by the side of your senior in their favorite chair. You can buy the bottles very cheap at the dollar store. Use them when you are out with kids and never eat or touch yourself without using this liquid antibacterial bottles of soap.
  • Sneeze into your elbow area of your arm and do not touch your nose or eyes when you are out and about. Use a Kleenx if you need to stratch or rub those exposed areas. Many people use something like neosporin in their nose when they go out in the midst of a nasty outbreak of a bug. I have done this myself, but I have no information on the success of this action.
  • Remember you want to use paper towels to do the cleaning and throw them away as you move from room to room or when they get damp. You need to dry the surface, it’s the moisture that things grow in. Regular towels can harbor the germs and move them around the house, so use paper towels to keep clean.
  • Bath towels should be used and washed after someone sick has taken a shower. All towels in the bathroom are up for washing machine clean if the family is unwell and the surface of the bathroom needs to be cleaned.
  • If you’re using the bleach mixture, then you need to wear rubber gloves as you clean to protect your hands. Buy rubber gloves in most grocery and large box stores. But buy just one box of  both the latex and non latex and try them out and see if you show any signs of allergies. Once you know the type of rubber gloves you use best, then you can buy a large amount of them at the medical supply center or Costco. You can have the doctor actually write a prescription for them to help with the cost and if nothing else, they can come off the taxes in the medical care section for the patient/or you, if you are claiming them as a dependant.
  • If you have not cleaned heavily lately, do it now. I make it a task to do the surface of the care home/nursery in the evening when every one is going down to bed. That way the day’s germs are taken care of and in the morning we start fresh all over again.
  • Wash hands before and after you put on gloves. The gloves protect you from germs but touching them will bring them back onto your hands. Do not think gloves mean that you are safe from germs, you are touching the germs with the gloves and taking off the gloves is something that is taught to you in nursing aid classes. If you have not taken one, ask a nurse at the doctor’s office to show you and she will walk you through it and you will have it down in no time.
  • Washing hands is done all the time and you need to get used to it if you are a mom, care giver or just live alone. The world is full of more people, more people make more germs and you are in the middle of it.
  • Check out soap contents before you buy. I’m allergic to aloe and they are putting that in lots of hand soaps, so I have to be careful not to buy those. They ask you to use antibacterial soaps out of the home and regular soaps in the home. But using any soap is better than none. So buy some soft soaps at the box store and just wash your hands on a regular basis or when ever you do a task with another person or when you move from a care giving room to another.

Proper Hand Washing Guide:

  1. Make sure you have everything you need at the sink before you wash your hands. That would be your liquid soap, your paper towels and a trash can that is ready for you to drop the towel in to- without touching another surface. >> Use one of the paper towels to open the public bathroom door after your hands are washed clean.
  2. Turn on warm water and keep the water running while washing your hands, this is not a time to worry about water consumption.
  3. Rub palms together to make a lather. Scrub between your fingers and the entire surfaces of the hands and wrists remember under your nails. Scrub for 10-15 seconds.
  4. Rinse hands thoroughly by pointing fingers down so the water does not run up your wrists
  5. Dry hands well with paper towels that are clean and make sure they are dry, not moist. You can use hand lotion if available to prevent chapping.
  6. If chapping occurs then talk to the pharmacist and ask them if they think it is the soap, the gloves or just the washing? He can recommend a good moisture cream that will help your skin.

I hope this information helps you through out the full year. Winter is not the only time for germs, they lay in wait all year long. Faucets, toilet handles, light switches, door bells, all kitchen surfaces, pens and scizzors in your kitchen office area, crayons and dog toys. The list is long. But if you and your family get used to cleaning up after dinner in the kitchen and call the clean up, surface clean up as well as dish clean up, it can really help to lower the sniffles.

If you give care and you’re sick, do not go into the senior area – get help to take over your place until you’re well. You can find face masks at the pharmacy and ask the pharmacist how to use them for full effectiveness.

Please go to my website and read more information on basic care giving. I also have fun radio shows that will give you good info at  and the informaiton on how to really give care well is in my workbook called Senior Care 101 Workbook, that you can find on the products page of the www.seniorcarewithspirit.comsite. Thanks, francy


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