Since 1995 - Non Profit Healthcare Advice

Caring for Someone with the Flu

child having his temperature takenHow do I care for the sick person?

Make sure the sick person follows any instructions given by his or her doctor and takes all medicines as directed. You can make the sick person more comfortable by following treatment advice from

Get medical care right away if the sick person has:


How do I keep others and myself in the home from getting the flu?

Keep the sick person away from other people as much as possible, especially those who are at high risk of problems from the flu. You can do this in your home by creating a sick room.

  • Keep the sick person in a room away from common areas of the house.
  • If you have more than one bathroom, have the sick person use one and well people use the other.
  • Clean the sick room and bathroom every day with household disinfectant.
  • The sick person should not have visitors other than caregivers. An email, text message, or phone call is safer than a visit.


Take these additional steps to protect yourself and people in your home from getting the flu:

  • You and all healthy people in the house should clean their hands with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand rub often.  Do this after every contact with:

    • the sick person
    • the sick person’s room or bathroom
    • items used or touched by the sick person.


  • Remind the sick person to cover coughs and clean his or her hands with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand rub often, especially after coughing or sneezing.



  • Hold small children who are sick with their chin on your shoulder so that they will not cough in your face.



  • Keep windows open in shared areas of the house such as bathrooms, kitchen, living room, etc.


Follow good cleaning practices:

  • Throw the sick person’s tissues and other used throwaway items in the trash.
  • Keep surfaces clean by wiping them down with an approved household disinfectant.  Especially pay attention to:

    • bedside tables
    • surfaces in the bathroom
    • doorknobs
    • phones
    • children’s toys.
  • Clean linens, eating utensils, and dishes used by the sick person thoroughly before reusing. You do not need to wash items separately.
  • Wash linens like bed sheets and towels with laundry soap and tumble dry on a hot setting.  
  • To keep from infecting yourself, do not hold dirty laundry against your body before washing it. 


Related Links

The Flu: Caring for Someone Sick at Home
Recognizing Flu Symptoms
Treating the Flu


This article is based on information available at ( accessed November 2012.

For more information:

Go to the Cold and Flu health topic.