When taking care of a loved one with the flu, it is important to take precautions to keep yourself and other family members protected. Follow these common sense steps to stay healthy!Start by keeping the sick person away from other people as much as possible. Create a sick room to help reduce the spread of germs and keep the sick person in a room away from common areas of the house. Clean the sick room daily with disinfectant products. It is a good practice to keep disinfecting sprays or wipes on hand to keep surfaces clean. Influenza can survive for several hours even days. You can use a bleach solution by mixing 1/4 cup of bleach for every gallon of water. Mix a new solution each time you clean. Be sure to keep bathroom faucets, light switches and door knobs frequently cleaned. Sheets and towels should be washed in "hot" water, and try to not place the dirty linens close to the body while transporting them to the laundry room. Wash your hands after handling dirty laundry.
Wash hands frequently with soap and water for a least 20 seconds and make certain that all family members participate in the hand washing ritual.
Designate only one adult to be the caregiver. People at increased risk of severe illness from influenza should not be the caregiver. If this is not possible, ware a face mask and gloves.
Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth to prevent gems from entering your body.
Hold small children who are sick with their chin on your shoulder so that coughs are directed away from your face.
Public health experts recommend staying six feet away from someone with the flu. Any closer, and you are in prime range for inhaling the droplets that can make you sick as they expel into the air by coughs and sneezing. Since that is not always possible that's why the other measures such as hand washing and disinfecting are so important.
Practice healthy habits to help maintain your body's resistance to infection. Eat a healthy diet. Drink lots of water. Continue to exercise. Get plenty of sleep and rest.
Make sure the person you are caring for receives lots of fluids and rest. Prevent dehydration by encouraging liquids at the first sign of the flu. Give ice and easily digested foods and fluids that contain electrolytes.
Seek medical attention if your loved one suffers from any of the following:
- Difficulty breathing or chest pain
- Purple or blue discoloration of the lips
- Vomiting and unable to keep liquids down
- Signs of dehydration such as dizziness when standing, absence of urination, or in infants, a lack of tear when they cry
- Less responsive than normal or confused
Remind your loved one to cough and sneeze into disposable tissue whenever possible. Throw the sick person's tissues and other used disposable items in the trash and keep hand sanitizer nearby for those moments when they are unable to wash with soap.
Taking care of someone else may cause you to lose sight of your own health. Remember to be mindful of your needs as well.
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