Devices that keep household germs and bacteria at bay

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Michigan’s cold and flu season is showing no signs of letting up. It is the first time in the history of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s current tracking system that every state in the continental U.S. has “widespread” flu activity. These rates are expected to only continue their growth as January and February are the peak months for the influenza virus.

Michigan is about 1 percent below the national average for flu cases, as frigid temperatures keep people at home and from spreading sickness more widely. However, this does present an additional challenge: keeping Michiganders’ homes from becoming hotbeds for germs and bacteria to thrive.

If you need a little help in this mission, we don’t blame you! Keeping every surface, nook and cranny perfectly clean be a challenge. Plus, you, your family, and your guests could be spreading illness without even showing any symptoms. Get a look at some of these household devices that will make fighting flu season a bit less challenging.

  1. HEPA air purifiers: HEPA stands for “High Efficiency Particulate Arrestance,” meaning that the air purifier filter captures at least 99.97% of particles of a miniscule size. While they are used most commonly for allergy season, HEPA air purifiers also work to kill airborne bacteria, viruses, mold spores, and germs. Breathe easy!
  2. Towel dryers: Bathrooms are the ideal place for bacteria to grow in the home. Towels that are left damp in the dark can grow harmful disease-causing agents in just two days. The trick is to get your towel dry as soon as possible, and there are many cost-effective towel warmer–drying rack hybrids out there worth trying. Wash your towels after every two or three uses, too. And on that note…
  3. UV toothbrush sanitizers: Germicidal UV lights are able to “inactivate” the microorganisms that cause a wide range of illness – not just influenza. Every flush of your toilet sends up an aerosol flume of harmful particles that land on not just your towel, but your toothbrush as well! Keep those intruders at bay with an FDA-approved UV toothbrush sanitizer. If you don’t want to spring for one, you can also soak your toothbrush in an antibacterial mouthwash before and after every use.
  4. Humidifiers: Your home’s indoor humidity can have a profound impact on your health, especially in the winter. Dry air allows bacteria and viruses to hang in the air for longer, increasing the risk of infection. Try to keep your indoor humidity level at 45 to 55 percent – you’ll know you’re overdoing it if condensation appears on the inside of your windows.

What else is in your flu season arsenal? Share your tricks and techniques with us on DTE Energy’s Facebook and Twitter.