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

No flu for you! How to set up a sickroom. Go!
Reviewed 2/16/2023

How to set up a sickroom

Stop the spread of flu germs

Next time someone in your home has the flu or another contagious bug, be ready. Here’s how to set up a sickroom to help others stay well.

Choose a room for the sick person to rest and recoup. If possible, a separate bathroom would help too. Make sure anyone who’s sick has their own washcloths and towels.

Designate one main caregiver and consider stocking the following items in the sickroom:

Alcohol-based sanitizer for cleaning hands frequently.

Disinfecting wipes for cleaning bedside tables, phones, doorknobs, bathroom counters and other surfaces.

Face masks for the sick person to wear when leaving the room.

Fan—or open the window (if it’s not too chilly)—to keep clean, fresh air flowing.

Humidifier to fill the air with moisture, making breathing easier.

Thermometer to check for fever.

Tissues for coughing and sneezing.

Trash can with a lid—lined with a plastic bag—for used tissues.

Water or other clear liquids to help prevent dehydration. A straw or squeeze bottle can make drinking easier.


Be sure to store all medications safely out of the sight and reach of kids, visitors and pets.


A yearly flu vaccine is recommended for most people age 6 months and older. 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, which can last into the spring.

See the two most common ways the flu spreads.


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


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