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reviewed 5/2/2019

How to set up a sickroom: To keep flu from spreading

If someone in the house has the flu, set up a sickroom to help others stay well.

Set up a sickroom.

A separate room for a sick person can help others in the house stay well. Designate 1 person as the caregiver and stock these things in your sickroom.

  • Fan. An open window or fan to keep clean, fresh air flowing.
  • Humidifier. A humidifier to fill the air with moisture, making breathing easier.
  • Supply of face masks. A face mask for the sick person to wear when leaving the room.
  • Trash can. A trash can with a lid—lined with a plastic bag—for used tissues.
  • Thermometer. A thermometer to check for fever.
  • Alcohol-based sanitizer. An alcohol-based sanitizer for cleaning hands frequently.
  • Medicine. A fever-reducing medicine like acetaminophen or ibuprofen, stored out of kids' reach. Never give aspirin to children or teens.
  • Pitcher with water/Cup with straw. Water or other clear liquids to help prevent dehydration. A straw or squeeze bottle can make drinking easier.
  • Disinfecting wipes. Disinfecting wipes for cleaning bedside tables, phones, doorknobs, bathroom counters and other surfaces.
  • Box of tissues. A box of tissues for coughing and sneezing.
  • Bathroom. If possible, a bathroom solely for the sick person's use—with his or her own washcloth and towel.

Get a flu shot

An annual flu shot can also help stop the spread of flu—and most people age 6 months and older can get the vaccine. The best time to get it is in the fall as soon as it becomes available, but you can get it anytime during the flu season.

What to know about the flu vaccine.

Sources: American Red Cross; Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

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