Remember when you were young and you came down with flu? It was not all that bad when someone in your family would selflessly try to nurture you back to health by serving you chicken noodle soup while you watched The Price is Right. You could annex the couch from the rest of the family by staking it out as a recuperation territory with all of your pillows and blankets.
The reception you receive from your roommates, however, is less ‘chicken noodles and pillows’ and more ‘gas masks and complaints’. When one roommate gets the flu, it is almost certain that at least one of the other members of the apartment will eventually come down with the same symptoms. This is bad for roommate morale; for about a month, each roommate basically waits to see if they too will get sick.
So, how does one avoid spreading disease and contempt among roommates? It is very unlikely that you will be able to find an apartment with separate wings, that you could use to quarantine your sick roommate.
This is definitely not an easy task. It certainly requires the sick roommate to spend some pro-active time trying to disinfect the apartment and keep it as clean as possible.
Here are some tips on how a sick roommate can keep their roommates healthy.
In your living room, wash the couch by lightly spraying Lysol Disinfectant or by washing pillow covers in the laundry in a gentle cycle. This is probably the most communal spot in the house and should be cleaned a few times while you are sick, especially if that is where you plan to spend the bulk of your recovery.
In your own bedroom, increasing the frequency with which you wash your sheets, pillow cases, towels as well as keeping the room ventilated can prevent you from keeping yourself sick.
In your bathroom, disinfect your shower, sink and toilet and keep your toiletries far away from your roommates’ items.
In your kitchen, be sure to wash the glasses, pots, pans and dishes a few times, wipe down your countertops and mop the floor. Shared dishware can easily lead to the spread of germs and this is another room that is used by everyone.
Make sure to air out your apartment as much as you can. Keeping your apartment sufficiently ventilated will mitigate the spread of airborne germs and bacteria.
Prepare for the inevitable. It is very likely that your roommates will indeed come down with a cold or flu. So, when you are buying cold medicine, orange juice, chicken noodle soup or whatever other home remedies you have concocted, (I personally rely on large portions of huevos rancheros early in the morning and Vietnamese soup called pho for supper to get over a cold) you should have enough for your roommates.
If/when they get sick, they may blame you, but they will be appreciative of the efforts and thought you have taken to help all the members of your apartment.
What have your experiences been with sick roommates? Do you have any tips or is it just an inevitable one of life’s valleys?