Biting the Bug in Our Little House

It’s amazing to me how many new things keep cropping up about living in a small space, even now 3 years after our move.

Dale and I aren’t susceptible to a lot of viruses, so aside from a couple of small colds, we really haven’t had to deal with many germs.

That is, until this past week.

Dale’s luck ran out and he has been very ill with whatever crud is going around town. Bad cold or flu, we’re not sure.

Living with someone who is contagious is challenging for anyone, but the germs are almost impossible to escape in close quarters.

A week ago Sunday night, when he started sniffling, I asked, “Are you getting a cold?”

He said, “I don’t know.”

I’m not sure why men don’t know that tingling feeling in the back of the throat, that most women I’ve talked to associates with a cold, but I wasn’t taking any chances.

Don’t get me wrong. I empathize with my husband. I’ve been babying him and making sure he’s taking his medicine. But I have tons of work right now and really, I’m a pretty big baby when it comes to sore throats. I couldn’t take any time from my work to be sick.

I doubled my vitamin and Echinacea intake, began swallowing zinc and loaded up on C. By Tuesday, I had a slight sniffle and sore throat, but nothing like what Dale had developed.

Chills, sore throat, fever, sneezing and sniffling. By Saturday, he still looked awful and the bug had moved into his chest.

I put the anti-bacterial rub near his chair and asked him to use it anytime he touched his face or coughed into his hands. (I know antibacterial products can be harmful, but we only use them in cases of illness, or when we’re out eating. If anyone knows a safe way to sanitize our hands, I’m all ears).

Of course it also helped that he didn’t take any time off from work either, so the hours he was spreading germs around our little house was limited.

I then adopted the rule I use when out and about: I never touch my mouth, nose, ears or eyes while in public, unless I’ve washed or sanitized my hands.

My next dilemma, what to use to sanitize the doorknobs, television remote and other hard surfaces?
Due to it being so detrimental to the environment, I have completely quit using chlorine bleach, which is what I previously used.

I know white distilled vinegar is good for lots of things, but will it sanitize and get rid of germs?

According to this website, it will. Hooray! Score another for the environment and score one for me that I haven’t caught the bug (knock on wood).

What do you do to keep from catching bugs from kids, spouses or S.O’s in your home?

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20 Responses

  1. MarthaAndMe says:

    I’d never thought of using vinegar to disinfect. When something like this hits our house I also like to open some windows and get some fresh air in the house.

  2. Heather says:

    Everyone seems to be sick right now. I hope that means we are all in for a healthy winter.

  3. Kim says:

    My new defense is essential oils… just diffusing them into the air can kill microbes on surfaces in the room. Amazing, but true.

    I use a blend of cinnamon/eucalyptus/lemon/clove/something else (can’t remember) in our hand soap. The scent stays on our hands afterwards, which tells me the oils are there, doing their anti microbial and anti viral work. (Yes, some oils are antiviral. Your doctor doesn’t know that because they aren’t a subject of study for the U.S. medical community– not marketable as a drug, therefore little money available for research. Crazy.)

    If it’s flu, Kerri, baths w/ about 10 drops of tea tree oil in a teaspoon of olive oil (then dissolved into the water, just before you get in) have been known to help fight off the beginnings of a flu virus. It helps to catch it at the beginning, when there’s still a chance to help your body fight off the full shebang.

    Hope you succeed!

  4. Kristi says:

    I am a big fan of washing the bed linens and towels during and after an illness.

  5. Alexandra says:

    Onions! Who would have thought? Thanks for this tip. I always learn something interesting when I visit your blog, Kerri. Hoping you don’t get the bug. Let us know, okay?

    • kerri says:

      Thanks, Alexandra. Not feeling great today. Dale went to the doctor and then went on to work. He hasn’t missed a day. He has 3 prescriptions now as the infection even went into his eye.

  6. Kathleen Winn says:

    I think men are in denial when it comes to being sick. Admitting they’re coming down with something is somehow not manly. When I tell my husband, “you know that feeling you get when you know you’re just starting to get sick but you’re not yet sick?” he gives me a blank stare and has no idea what I’m talking about. He goes from healthy to bedridden in a matter of hours because he holds off on admitting that he’s sick when those first symptoms appear. I hope you and Dale have a flu-free autumn and winter Kerri. Glad to know about some of these home remedies for killing germs and staving off colds and flu!

    • kerri says:

      I’m glad I’m not the only one who has a husband who goes into denial. Thanks for the well wishes, Kathy. We never get sick and this is so frustrating!

  7. Frugal Kiwi says:

    Speaking of cats, one of mine has a cold at the moment. I haven’t figured out how to teach him to cover his sneezes.

  8. Becky says:

    I run a child play center and after every shift I clean with 60% rubbing alcohol and 40% water. It evaporates quickly so is not harmful for the kids and I (knock on wood!) seldom get sick. It’s a lifesaver.

  9. V Schoenwald says:

    Hope Dale is feeling better and you take care and don’t get the bug. You don’t have time for it.
    I just try to wash my hands, I take a hand sanitizer with me in my purse if I go out to shop or run errands. I am not sure of anything else.
    A after thought….
    Years ago, my grandmother cut and put onions all over the house when fall came around. My greatgrandmother used onions when the 1917 flu outbreak was going on, and no one in the house was sick at all. The only soap that was use was the old standby, lye soap she made.
    So I grew up with onions in the house, set into a shallow dish and these were placed in the bedrooms, kitchen, living room, and whatever room we all gathered. We were never “sick” so to speak, except maybe a sore throat, or a little turkey trots session, but I do remember, one time, when I was in middle school, I had the flu and was very sick, and guess what, no onions out in the house!
    Take care, and get well.

    • olivia says:

      I remember my grandmother telling me that whenever she came out of a room where someone was sick with the flu during that great epidemic she would strip off her clothes and drop them in a tub full of water and carbolic soap.

      As for onions – a few years ago when I had an ear infection my homeopathic doctor gave me some homeopathic pills but also instructed me to cut an onion in half, heat it and apply it to my ear for 15 minutes at a time periodically throughout the day. It felt so good that I just stuck it under a hat over my ear and left it on most of the day. Worked like a charm!

      While I rarely get sick either, I too have the scratchy throat and woolly headedness that signals something! My favourite comfort food for this is a combination of organic chicken broth and homemade tomato juice combined and heated up like soup. I seem to crave it.

      • kerri says:

        Thanks for the tips with the onions, you two, very interesting and I think I will try it. I love onions and don’t find the smell offensive in any way. 🙂

  10. V Schoenwald says:

    I use vinegar and baking soda, and borax, but this past 2 weeks, I had to use the bleach as I had an extremly bad upper respitory virus that affected my cats, it really knocked some of my younger kttens down pretty bad, so everything had to be washed and the feed dishes and water bowls were in bleach soaking to contain the virus spreading. I am going to wash floors and cabinets today.
    I have gone back to my grandmother’s ways, but sometimes I have to use the bleach, especially when you have animals and these really bad viruses that affect them. I have never came across anything that has mentioned vinegar defeating viruses for critters, any info Kerri?
    My vet told me these particular viruses that cats get, only bleach knocks it out and destroys it. Vinegar is not strong enough to kill it.

    • kerri says:

      In that case, I would definitely go with what the vet said. I was surprised that vinegar is even strong enough to kill human cold viruses.