Keep H1N1 flu, also known as swine flu, from infecting the whole family with these precautions.
- Step 1: Frequently disinfect anything the ill person touches, like bedside tables, bathroom surfaces, and toys. Use a basket to gather dirty linens and clothes to keep them away from your face, and launder them in hot water.
- Step 2: Don't allow family members to use plates, glasses, or utensils that came into contact with the infected person until after they're washed. You can wash them together with the rest of the dishes.
- Step 3: Let fresh air into the common areas of the home as much as possible.
- FACT: Due to the 2003 SARS outbreak, the health-care systems of most countries in the developed world are better prepared to deal with an epidemic.
- TIP: Alcohol-based hand sanitizers can be used in between hand-washing with soap and water.
- Step 4: Remind the victim to cough or sneeze into tissues and to wash their hands afterwards. The caregiver should wash their hands after each contact with the infected person and after handling their trash. Use disposable paper towels to dry hands, or give each family member their own cloth.
- Step 5: Keep the infected person in a room by themselves with the door closed. If you have more than one bathroom, designate one for the flu sufferer and sanitize it daily with household disinfectant.
- Step 6: If possible, assign one person in the household as the sole caregiver. The caregiver should try to maintain a distance of six feet from the flu victim.
- Step 7: Get disposable surgical face masks or N95 respirators from a pharmacy or hardware store for the caregiver and patient to wear when they're together. The caregiver should wear one whenever they leave the home, too, just in case they are in an early, asymptomatic stage of the illness.
- TIP: An N95 respirator is more effective at filtering germs than a face mask, but it is difficult to breathe through it for long periods of time.
- Step 8: Ask your doctor if non-infected members of the household should take antiviral medication as a precaution.