When a cold, the flu, a tummy bug, or head lice arrive uninvited into your home, there are measures you can take to reduce the risk of everyone in the family getting infected. Here are a few tips for various types of infection.
Regular handwashing is the easiest and most effective way to reduce the transmission of germs. Provided you use the proper washing technique, running water and plain soap are all you need. The key is to scrub the entire hand surface (including beneath your nails and between your fingers) with soap for at least 20 seconds. Alcohol-based products should only be used when running water and soap are not available, as they can irritate skin and are no more effective than a thorough wash with soap and water.
Regular housecleaning is also a good way to limit germ transmission. Pay special attention to surfaces that the whole family touches frequently: door handles, telephones, computer keyboards, etc.
It is recommended that all Canadians get the flu vaccine, especially those who are at risk of complications (young children, the elderly, and those with certain diseases). In Canada, the flu results in thousands of hospitalizations and hundreds of deaths every year.
Since stomach flu (gastroenteritis) is highly contagious, only one member of the family should be assigned to care for the sick individual, where possible. The sick person should not handle food that will be eaten by other members of the family and should avoid direct contact with others.
Additional measures if a member of your family has lice
Several treatments are available at the pharmacy to treat lice. Your pharmacist will recommend a product and explain how to use it.
The information contained herein is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended to provide complete information on the subject matter or to replace the advice of a health professional. This information does not constitute medical consultation, diagnosis or opinion and should not be interpreted as such. Please consult your health care provider if you have any questions about your health, medications or treatment.