The kids are back in school and work is ramping up. That must mean that it’s time for your next seasonal cold to kick in, making you both miserable and less productive.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “common colds are the main reason that children miss school and adults miss work. Adults have an average of two to three colds per year, and children have even more.” Are you approaching your first or second? You probably already follow CDC advice to wash your hands often with soap and water and avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands. You also learned to sneeze into your elbow and wipe down your computer and phone at work.
However, you might still be vulnerable to getting sick at home, especially if you have children in school or daycare. Cold viruses can live on hard surfaces for several days, according to medical experts. All of the light switches, faucets and other shared surfaces in your home can be transmission points. Simply put, it’s quite possible that your freshly-washed hands are picking up germs left by a family member on the light switch you just turned off.
This is where hands-free technology can be especially helpful this season. The fewer contact points between your fingers and shared household surfaces, the fewer germs are passed back and forth among family members. With that in mind, here are three fairly easy to implement strategies to help cut down on sick days this season.
Replace your standard kitchen faucet with a hands-free model. This can cut down on viruses being transmitted between members of your household. It can also cut down on exposure to food-related contagions that can linger on surfaces and cause illness.
There are hands-free bathroom faucets, as well, that can reduce germ transmission. These can be especially beneficial for rooms frequented by multiple users, like a powder room or shared children’s bathroom.
You have two options when it comes to reducing light switch touch points. One is to purchase and install a smart home automation package that gives you voice or app control. Everyone in your household would need to be able to control it with their own phones, too, to reduce the family’s overall germ transmission risk.
Alternatively, you can replace switches that are used by multiple household members with a hands-free model that eliminates the need to touch the switch. You wave your hand in front of it and the light turns on or off. (If your fixture is dimmable, make sure the touchless system you purchase is also dimmable. They’re not all compatible.)
If your toilets are shared by more than one user, as is often the case with families, adding a hands-free flushing mechanism (or replacing a current toilet with a touchless model) can also reduce germ spread. This can be especially helpful with children who might forget to wash their hands from time to time.
There are more extensive changes you can make if you’re considering a remodel. These include cabinets that open hands-free and full home automation (to eliminate multiple touchpoints).
No design change is a substitute for good health practices at home or work, but they can all definitely help reduce the opportunities for catching a cold this season.