While our own immune systems offer some protection against most illnesses, they can still be susceptible to potentially dangerous airborne germs and viruses. Here are 7 ways to protect your family from airborne illnesses.

1.Wash your hands

Image/Amanda Mills
Image/Amanda Mills

This is an important first line of defense. As we spread bacteria and germs from objects that we touch, some of those microbes will be swept into the air.  The CDC recommends you scrub for at least 20 seconds and rinse your hands well under clean, running water. You should wash before, during, and after food preparation, as well as before and after caring for a sick individual.

Washing your hands will also reduce your chances of getting sick at school and work. Be sure to also wash your hands after touching garbage or pet food, because those are two places that bacteria love to hang out.

2. Get an air purifier

Air purifiers can be a great way to remove airborne germs. Air purifiers remove particles of the smallest size (about .3 microns), including bacteria and viruses. The best air purifier for germs would use specialized technology such as UV-C light to remove bacteria and viruses.

Having a really good ventilation system in your home is a great idea, and getting an air purifier will add to its efficiency. If the air in your home is clean and germ-free, your home ventilation system will last longer because there is less wear and tear on the air filters.

3. Get regular immunizations

Many people might believe that regular immunizations end when you get to be an adult, but this isn’t true. The U.S. Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices recommends that you get tetanus and diphtheria shots every 10 years to keep your immunity. The flu is especially important to get vaccinated against. If you live in a house with other people and someone gets the flu, airborne prevention is critically important. Getting a flu shot helps prevent airborne illnesses like the flu.

Check your medical records to see when the last time was that you got a shot. Keeping your immunizations up to date is critical in preventing the spread of disease in your home and at work. There’s nothing worse than realizing you forgot to get your shots boosted, so schedule a quick appointment when the time comes to make sure you’re properly immunized.

4. Use antiseptic spray

Using a patented and proven antiseptic spray is a scientifically sound method of preventing disease.  These sprays kill almost 100% of airborne germs in the area and they last for about six hours. According to the Infectious Disease Society of America, Halo Oral Antiseptic spray is especially useful in preventing illness.  It doesn’t taste bad – but doesn’t have much taste at all.  Using basic antiseptic sprays is a great way to prevent airborne diseases.

Since antiseptic spray is a quick, cheap, and easy way to reduce germs in the air, keep a small bottle on hand throughout your house. Just grab it and use a few spritzes throughout the day to keep your home smelling fresh and free of bacteria in the air. Be sure to sanitize items that get dirty easily – toothbrush holders, dog food trays, board games, coffee makers, to name a few.

5. Wear a small facemask

This is especially important if you are serving as a caregiver for someone infected with flu or other airborne viruses.  If you go to a large workplace or university around a lot of people in small cramped quarters, wearing a facemask can help to prevent airborne illnesses.

If you’re worried that you’ll look strange with a facemask on, don’t be concerned.  Facemasks are increasingly becoming more accepted. You can even find decorated masks to capitalize on your own unique style.

6. Stay home when sick

If you do get sick, staying home is a good idea. So is keeping away from other family members. Avoid traveling if at all possible. If you are concerned about skipping work because you are sick, ask yourself how well you’ll be able to carry out your normal duties. Rest is much better than working sick and making things worse the next day. If you have a fever, that is a sure sign it’s time to stay home.

7. Disinfect any “hot zones” in your home

The kitchen and bathroom are two areas in the home that have a lot of bacteria.  You can make a nice kid-friendly cleaning solution that is also good for the environment. Try using vinegar with a sanitizing spray from apple cider vinegar. Mix one quarter to a half cup of vinegar for each cup of water. Add a bit of lemon to this solution and it will smell great. Adding a bit of lemon will also increase the antibacterial quality.

Try using grapefruit seed extract as well. Amazingly, this natural disinfectant works against ear infections, flu, and meningitis. Since it’s all-natural, it’s good for the environment, sustainable, and eco-friendly.

Janet Miller is a nutritionist, health practitioner and work at home mom. She spends much of her free time reading, writing and connecting with other health bloggers. Read more on her website.