Avoid the flu if someone in your house has it | Health
The best defense against the flu is to get a flu shot, but if someone in your household comes down with the flu, your risk goes up even if you’ve had the shot. However, there are some common-sense precautions you can take to further minimize your risk of getting sick.
The influenza virus is an airborne illness, transmitted via a cough or sneeze that projects a mist containing the flu virus out into the air. Others breathe this air and get infected, similar to the way one catches a cold. The mist also lands on surfaces that others touch.
In addition, an infected person’s hands – which handle tissues and which wipe and/or touch their eyes, mouth and nose - are “toxic” in that everything else they touch becomes a source for infecting others: doorknobs, telephones, faucets, dishware and utensils, drinking glasses, surfaces of furniture, towels, books, magazines, etc.
So, what to do when your spouse/child/partner/roommate has the flu and you don’t want to get it? The primary defense against the flu virus is frequent hand washing. The virus is inactivated by soap and hot water, so both the person with the flu and those in the same house must wash their hands frequently and thoroughly.
Also, spray disinfectants are effective; use them to wipe down surfaces, faucets, doorknobs, etc. that may have been directly or indirectly contaminated. A facemask is helpful against an airborne virus such as a cough or sneeze, preventing it from entering the nasal passages.
If it’s a child who has the flu, teach him to cough or sneeze into his elbow joint, not his hands. By the way, this is good advice year-round for everyone, not just for children.
Finally, be healthy to stay healthy. Get the proper amount of sleep, exercise and nutrition to help insure your own immune system is as strong as it can be. And remember: It’s still not too late to benefit from a flu shot!