Stomach flu: How to avoid spreading the infection

When a tummy bug arrives uninvited into your home, there are a few strategies you can employ to reduce the risk of spreading the infection to the whole family.

1- Assign one family member to care for the sick individual 

Where possible, assign one person to care for the ill family member and another to look after the rest of the household (including meal preparation).

2- Isolate the sick person from the rest of the household 

The sick person should remain in their bedroom, or in the bathroom if they are experiencing vomiting or diarrhea. If you have more than one bathroom in the home, set aside one for use only by the person who is sick.

3- Disinfect as effectively as possible

Thoroughly disinfect soiled surfaces with a bleach solution. Dilute 1 cup of bleach in 9 cups of cold or lukewarm water (never use hot water as the mix can give off irritating vapours). 

For best results, the solution should be left on the surface (toilet bowl, sinks, counters, floors, door handles, etc.) for at least 30 seconds. 

Wash soiled clothing, bedding, and towels in hot water. Dry at high temperature setting. Bleach can be added provided the fabrics are bleach-resistant (check labels).

4- Ensure everyone follows proper hand washing rules

To reduce the risk of spreading the infection, proper hand washing is key. There’s no need for antibacterial soap; regular soap works fine. It’s all in the way you wash! 

  • Lather a bit of soap in your hands with warm water.
  • Scrub hands vigorously all over, including under fingernails, for at least 20 seconds. 
  • Rinse with warm water.

Every member of the family should wash their hands frequently, especially after using the washroom and before meals, whether or not someone in the home is sick! 

5- Cancel all visits

When a tummy bug is making the rounds in your home, it’s important to avoid passing it on to people in frail health. If any of your family members have fallen ill, avoid having people over to your home and do not visit people whose health may be more fragile (elderly and ill people, and babies).

For advice on how to manage vomiting and diarrhea, consult your pharmacist or call Info-santé (811).

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