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Sickness in the form of influenza made its way through three out of five of us last week. While sometimes it seems pretty much impossible to stop, I thought I’d share a couple things that I do as soon as possible when someone gets sick in our house. Call it the Clean Mama ‘My Kids Are Sick’ Cleaning Routine.
Please Note: I am not talking about the sniffles or a little cold, I am talking fever, stomach flu, viruses, influenza, etc. I hope it goes without saying that I take care of my children before doing the things on this list. Usually I complete these when said sick child is sleeping or on the couch watching a movie. I believe that a whole foods diet with plenty of hydration and rest is the best way to keep your immune system strong, but sometimes you still get sick. Here’s my arsenal of meds from last week – lots of tea, elderberry syrup and lozenges, and Osccillo.
- Open a window! Even if it’s just to crack open for 15 minutes, it’s so important to get fresh air in the house. Last week when I was feeling better I opened a window, threw the bedding in the washer and gathered up towels. When I switched the bedding to the dryer I closed the window.
- Change hand towels. Continue to change hand towels daily ( I do this as part of my routine, especially during cold and flu season) until everyone is better.
- Wash your hands, wash your hands, wash your hands. Remind kiddos about the importance of hand washing – 30 seconds, sing happy birthday, wash past the wrist, etc. Practice what you preach and wash your hands frequently too.
- Contain the tissues. Give kids a small paper or plastic bag (ages 4+ only for safety) for tissues – keep on the couch or wherever they are camped out so tissues aren’t strewn all over.
- Clean the bathrooms. If you only have a couple minutes, wipe down the sink handles and toilets. Here’s how I clean all my bathrooms in 15 minutes – a great method anytime (I do it on Mondays for Bathrooms Day), but especially effective when everyone comes down with something. When everyone is well, do a thorough cleaning of the bathrooms.
- Set up a sick station. If you have young kids and they have a stomach virus, it might be helpful to lay old towels as a pathway to the toilet to keep your cleaning up at a minimum. I keep a plastic bucket in the garage and line it with a plastic bag for anyone that might not make it to the bathroom. I also have a stash of these hyperemesis (puke)bags. Throw a couple in the glove box and keep a stash in the medicine cabinet.
- Wipe down most-touched surfaces. Use a cleaning cloth or cotton pad with rubbing alcohol or a cleaning wipe and wipe any remotes, phones, game controllers, switches and switch plates, door handles, and the refrigerator handle. Change frequently as you’re cleaning, don’t use the same wipe. This post details how to clean most touched areas if you’re interested.
- Wash bedding. I usually change pillowcases while the kids are sick and leave the actual bedding until the sick child(ren) is/are better. Don’t forget to wash pillows, comforters, quilts, and throw blankets on the couch too.
- Clean toothbrushes. Soak toothbrushes in hydrogen peroxide for 15-30 minutes and rinse thoroughly in water. Replace toothbrushes when illness is over, especially if there’s strep throat involved.
I’m always so thankful that I have a Cleaning Routine when something unexpected strikes – the house is tidy because I keep up with the Daily Tasks, so a couple days of not completing every task isn’t a big deal. Don’t ever fret about not completing a task for the day: a) it’ll be there later, b) it’s just cleaning, c) you can catch up on Friday or next week. And I’m always up for extra cuddles and snuggles from my babies.