Protect Yourself This Flu Season

Flu season is especially severe this season, and the risk of you or your family contracting the flu can increase exponentially if you’re selling your home.

The flu virus is contagious a full day before symptoms appear. Well-meaning, prospective home buyers can unwittingly spread germs when they cough, sneeze or talk and by touching objects and surfaces in your home.

So how can a motivated seller keep their home from turning into a petri dish for the flu?

Here are six tips to help keep your home germ-free as best as possible.

  1. Offer tissues and hand sanitizer to your visitors

Infectious flu viruses can survive on tissues for up to 15 minutes and for shorter periods on hands. Make tissues and hand sanitizer available to your guests in every room, along with a small waste basket where they can immediately dispose of tissues and hand wipes.

  1. Disinfect frequently

Clean kitchen and bathroom surfaces at least twice a week. After guests leave, wipe down surfaces they may have touched. Viruses can live for up to 48 hours on surfaces and objects like light switches, tables, doorknobs and handrails.

  1. Leave shoes at the door or provide disposable shoe “booties” 

Researchers have found that 440,000 units of bacteria can attach themselves to a pair of shoes within a two-week period, and bacteria is able to thrive better on shoes than on toilets. Further, bacteria from the shoes transferred to the tile floors in a house more than 90 percent of the time—and the numbers were even higher in homes with carpeted floors.

Post a gentle request at the door, and make paper booties available. If you’re home when potential buyers arrive, lead by example. Greet them without shoes and encourage them to take off their shoes by providing a rubber “mud mat” or shoe bench.

  1.   Proactive protection for the bathroom 

Hide your family’s toothbrushes in drawers, and stock bathrooms with disposable hand towels.

  1. Get fresh air throughout

Air out your home a few minutes a day to let stagnant air out and fresh air in. It may be cold outside, but cracking a window can help keep the air in your home fresh and moving.

  1. Skip the refreshments

While baking goodies may make your home smell wonderful, serving food and drink to guests can increase germ exposure for everyone.

While some of these measures may seem extreme, would-be home buyers/agents and home inspectors will appreciate your steadfastness in keeping them—and you—safe from germs. Greatly appreciated by all!


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