YouTube screenshot/NBC

How To Prevent The Flu From Spreading In Your House

Ad failed to load

You've probably heard that this year's flu season has been bad, sending thousands of people to the hospital, and killing 30 children so far in the U.S. Yikes. In fact, this season is comparable to the 2014-2015 flu season, and not wildly out of line with an average year, per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). But if you have kids, it's natural to panic just a little, and wonder how to protect them — or, if someone has already gotten sick, wonder how the heck you prevent the flu from spreading in your house.

Fortunately, for those of us who are totally freaking right now, experts have sane and easy tips for stopping this dangerous virus from spreading. According to the CDC, the single best way to prevent the flu from bringing down yourself or your family is to get a flu vaccine. If you didn't get one, or you are one of the unlucky people who managed to get the flu anyway, all is not lost — you can still get a flu shot and boost our herd immunity (the vaccine will also reduce the severity and likelihood of hospitalization should you get the flu). And if you have flu symptoms like fever, a cough, a sore throat, a runny nose, body aches, or fatigue, the CDC recommends limiting contact with other people, and staying home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone to prevent the flu from spreading. Healthline advises covering your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze, to stop touching your face, and to wash your hands with soap or use hand-sanitizer frequently to kill the virus.  

So what do you do once quarantined in your hovel with 1000 multifacted pieces of Lego just waiting to have their surfaces contaminated? Read on to find out all the ways you can keep you and your kids safe from the flu this year, according to experts.

Ad failed to load

Get A Flu Shot


According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), by far the best way to prevent the flu is to get a flu vaccine. If you didn't get one, yet, though, and someone in your family gets the flu, it might be too late to help. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, it can take up to two weeks for your body to produce the antibodies necessary to protect you. They recommend that everyone six months or older get a flu vaccine every season, as soon as it's available, to protect both themselves and people who are too young or unable to get a flu shot from getting sick.  

Cover Your Mouth When You Cough


When you do cough or sneeze, the CDC reminds you to cover your mouth. Not only is it good manners, but it can stop the flu from spreading to other people in tiny droplets of your saliva and mucus. So gross. You should teach your kids to cover their mouths, too, or if they are too young, should hold them over your shoulder to avoid their germs from getting coughed in your face.

Stop Touching Your Face

According to Healthline, one important way to stop the flu from spreading is to stop touching your damn face. If you are sick, you can easily spread the virus if you touch your infectious mouth, eyes, or nose and then touch surfaces, or other people. Eww.

Ad failed to load

Wash Your Hands


Speaking of your hands, you should wash them, often. According to the CDC, soap and water can kill the flu virus, or if it's not possible to wash your hands, you can use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer to kill the virus.

Use Bleach

According to the CDC, the flu virus can live on hard surfaces for 24 hours. Yikes. The good news is that you can use cleaners containing bleach, peroxide, or alcohol to kill the flu virus and prevent it from spreading.

Clean Toys And Other Shared Items


Kids are gross, you guys. If one of your kids has the flu, or even if they don't, it's a good idea to disinfect their toys each night. According to Michigan State University, sanitizing your kids' toys and wiping down surfaces can go a long way towards stopping viruses from spreading. You can soak hard toys in a solution of 1 tablespoon of chlorine bleach for each gallon of warm water or spray them down and let them air dry. According to the CDC, soft toys can be washed and dried in the machine, as detergent and temperatures above 167 degrees Fahrenheit will kill the flu virus. If a toy can't be washed or sanitized, you should probably consider putting them away until flu season is over.

Ad failed to load

Wear A Mask


According to Mayo Clinic, wearing a surgical mask has been shown in studies to prevent the spread of the flu. So, if you have the flu, you might wear one to prevent your kids from getting sick, especially if you are caring for a baby who is too young to get vaccinated. Likewise, if your kid has the flu, you might wear one to avoid getting sick yourself.

Ask Your Doctor About Medication

According to the CDC, if you get the flu, your doctor might prescribe antiviral drugs, which can shorten the duration of the flu and prevent complications. While not a substitute for vaccination, one antiviral medication — Oseltamivir — can prevent influenza infection in children 1 and older and adults who are exposed to the illness. So, if you get the flu, it's worth asking your doctor if they recommend one for you or your family.

Check out Romper's new video series, Romper's Doula Diaries:

Watch full episodes of Romper's Doula Diaries on Facebook Watch.

Ad failed to load
Must Reads

21 Moms Share The Most Surprising Part About Having A C-Section

Honestly, I don't think we, as a culture, talk about C-sections nearly enough, especially considering so many mothers experience them. And because of a number of factors, the little we do talk about it always seems to be a familiar narrative: "It's n…
By Jamie Kenney

13 Yummy Instant Pot Recipes To Make Under 30 Minutes

An Instant Pot seems to be the must-have appliance in every kitchen these days. If you are anything like me and never knew the beauty of a Instant Pot, you are about to have your life changed. Basically, you put some ingredients into a pot, set the t…
By Kristin Manna

9 Things The First Six Months Of Motherhood Will Teach You About Your Baby

Personally, the first six months of motherhood was a mixed bag. I learned some harsh lessons about myself that made taking care of my baby seem overwhelming. For example, I was clueless, and no amount of research could help me feel like anything but …
By Steph Montgomery

These Photos Of North West Then & Now Will Take You On A Sweet Trip Down Memory Lane

When Kim Kardashian welcomed her first daughter, North West, with her husband, Kanye West, in 2013, her whole life was changed. The social media and reality TV star became a mom for the first time and her Instagram presence took a very adorable turn.…
By Casey Suglia

11 Photos You *Must* Take During The Last Days Of Your Pregnancy

During my first pregnancy, I took a photo each week to document my growing belly. I stopped around 36 weeks, though. I hated how I looked in those pictures, and didn't think I'd want to relive those moments. I was wrong. My second pregnancy was a dum…
By Steph Montgomery

This Is What It Means If Your Pregnancy Test Changes Overnight

The time between when a woman suspects she might be pregnant and when it is confirmed for sure is the longest of her life. Regardless of whether you are hoping for a positive or a negative result, the odds are good that you are sweating bullets when …
By Shannon Evans

6 Red Flags To Definitely Look Out For After Your Baby Falls

The first time my infant son tried to take a few steps, he tumbled and bumped his head on the coffee table. My blood turned to ice in my veins and I froze. There truly isn't anything quite like the feeling a parent gets when their little one gets hur…
By Sarah Bunton

These 9 Instant Pot Recipes Will Make Even The Pickiest Eater Happy At The Table

Like any parent, I've had my share of parenting hits and misses, but one of my favorite "wins" is my daughter's diverse palate. I don't even know if I can take credit for it, but I would like to think I had something to do with her love for lentils, …
By Caroline Shannon-Karasik

Turns Out, Kim Kardashian's Favorite Mom Products Look A Lot Like Your Own Faves

Being a mom is really hard work, especially for the first few months, and Kim Kardashian West is no different in that regard. Now the mother of three, Kardashian says that there are a few products she just can't live without when it comes to raising …
By Abi Berwager Schreier

Soda Might Hurt Your Fertility, Study Says, & Here's What You Can Do

Who doesn't love sugary drinks? I stopped drinking soda years ago, but I still love gulping down those fancy Starbucks coffee beverages. I don't have a big sweet tooth, but I am a sucker for sugar-sweetened beverages every now-and-then. Turns out, th…
By Annamarya Scaccia

10 Things No One Tells You About Having A Baby In Your 30s

If you're like me, you evaluate the pros and cons of any major life decision. When my husband and I were considering starting a family, I thought about my career, education, and financial stability. I wanted to know how a pregnancy and childbirth wou…
By Steph Montgomery

This Woman Thought She Had An Eyelash Stuck In Her Eye. Then It Moved.

I'm not a person who is easily icked out. As a kid, I collected bugs and thought I was going to be an entomologist and asked Santa Claus for ant farms and nets to catch bees. I'm still super curious about anything that flies and crawls, which might s…
By Karen Fratti

5 Red Flags Your Toddler Isn't Eating Enough

Toddlers are notoriously picky eaters, at least in my experience. You offer mashed potatoes, they want french fries. You give them crackers, they scream for chips. It's frustrating, to be sure, but it's usually their way of vying for independence. It…
By Candace Ganger

35 Moms Share The Most Disgusting Things Their Husbands Do

I'm a human being who revels in challenges. I like when people present me with one, especially if they don't think I can meet or succeed it, and I like taking a challenge on, especially if it's unexpected. So when I aimed to uncover the most disgusti…
By Jamie Kenney

How Having Kids In Your 20s Affects You Later In Life

For parents, like myself, who had kids in their 20s, there are a number of questions that come to mind. When you're deciding what your future will look like, you'll likely consider what this means for your health, career, and more down the line. Thin…
By Tessa Shull

Study: Drinking Two Glasses Of Wine A Day Is Good For Your Mind — Here's Why

There’s more scientific proof that a daily drink or two isn't necessarily a bad thing and could have a place in an overall healthy lifestyle. A new study out of the University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC) in New York found that — in mice, at le…
By Tiffany Thomas

8 "Mistakes" I'm Glad I Made During My First Pregnancy

As an adult, I've learned you never really stop hating being told what to do. When I was pregnant I was getting instructions at every turn, from doctors, relatives, and complete strangers on the subway. I would nod and smile but then go about making …
By Liza Wyles

Research Says Eating Carbs Can Lead To A Healthy Pregnancy, So Bring On The Pasta

In the world of me, no food is better than bread. I know it's supposed to be pretty terrible for you, high in calories, low in protein, and full of that modern-day demon, gluten... but guys, it's really yummy. Especially warm out of the oven, when th…
By Jen McGuire

These Photos Of Prince George Then & Now Will Give You Serious Baby Fever

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are expecting their third child in Spring 2018. With all of the excitement surrounding the new baby, it's easy to forget all of the good times that have already passed. The couple's eldest is already well into the sc…
By Azure Hall

This Is, Hands Down, The *Grossest* Thing Babies Do Inside The Womb

Your baby's life in the womb may be safe and warm, but it's also kind of grody. Seriously, the whole process of growing into a human being includes more than a few icky moments along the way. But this is the grossest thing babies do inside the womb b…
By Lindsay E. Mack