10 items every COVID-conscious family needs to fight cold and flu season, according to medical experts

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Be prepared for the just-in-case. (Photo: Amazon)
Be prepared for the just-in-case. (Photo: Amazon)

We’re in the midst of a perfect storm. We have cold and flu season, plus the constant and pervasive threat of the Omicron variant. And with children being back in school, there’s a greater chance that they could be exposed to any of these illnesses, says Dr. David Cutler, a family medicine physician at Providence Saint John's Health Center in Santa Monica, California.

“Many of the practices that are being used for the control of COVID-19 are also applicable to the prevention of seasonal respiratory viruses, such as RSV, endemic coronaviruses, rhinovirus and influenza,” Dr. Jill Weatherhead, an assistant professor of tropical medicine and infectious diseases at Baylor College of Medicine, tells Yahoo Life.

It starts with getting vaccinated and boosted against COVID-19, along with the proper use of face masks and hand sanitizers. But, even then, it’s still possible for a member of your household to get sick anyway. So it’s always a good idea to stay stocked up on what you need to keep your house as clean as possible and keep tabs on the your family’s health. That way, you’re doing everything you can at home to help keep illness at bay—now and in the coming months.

Here are a few good things to keep around your house—according to health experts—as we contend with cold, flu and COVID-19 season.

Powecom KN95 Masks (10-pack)

These masks are a good alternative to an N95. (Photo: Amazon)
These masks are a good alternative to an N95. (Photo: Amazon)

These KN95 masks are authorized by the FDA under the name of the manufacturer, Guangzhou Powecom. The masks have a comfortable, easy-to-wear style and flexible elastic ear loops. An adjustable metal nose bridge helps you to get a snug fit.

"I had bad experiences with different masks before and I was curious if I will really like this mask. It was easy use and easy to breathe with this mask," a five-star fan said. "Finally I found what I am looking for."

Shop it: Powecom KN95 Masks (10-pack), $22, amazon.com

BinaxNOW Home COVID Test

Stock up while you can. (Photo: Amazon)
Stock up while you can. (Photo: Amazon)

BinaxNOW is one of the most popular home COVID-19 tests on the market. This FDA-authorized test can be hard to find, but Walmart currently has them in stock. The test involves taking a nasal swab, sliding it into a test kit along with a few drops of solution, and waiting 15 minutes for your results. 

"They work great and I sent some to friends who had accurate results as well," a happy customer said. "Don't test too early! Btw, the directions are very explicit and easy to follow."

Shop it: BinaxNOW Home COVID Test, $20, amazon.com

Puffs Plus Lotion Facial Tissue, 8-Pack

Keep your nose comfy with these tissues. (Photo: Amazon)
Keep your nose comfy with these tissues. (Photo: Amazon)

The CDC lists "congestion or runny nose" as one of the main symptoms of COVID-19, and that means you could be blowing your nose a lot. Keep your nose from getting red and uncomfortable with Puffs Plus Lotion tissues. They're specially designed to soothe your nose while you use them, so you don't have to deal with an uncomfortable nose on top of everything else. 

"What else can you possibly say about Puffs Plus than they are clearly the best tissues," a five-star fan said. "No more raw skin from wiping with ordinary tissues. Their lotion is hypoallergenic and the tissues themselves are strong and durable."

Shop it: Puffs Plus Lotion Facial Tissue, 8-Pack, $12 (was $16.50), amazon.com

Tylenol Extra Strength Acetaminophen Rapid Release Gels

Take out fevers with Tylenol. (Photo: Amazon)
Take out fevers with Tylenol. (Photo: Amazon)

COVID-19 is notorious for causing a fever, along with body aches and headaches. Tylenol can help you feel better and work on reducing your fever, so you can rest easier. These gel caps are easy to swallow and quickly release medication, giving you relief ASAP.

"Got this for my nephew who was having COVID-19 symptoms. ER doctor told us to give him this for pain. Works great!" a happy customer said.

Shop it: Tylenol Extra Strength Acetaminophen Rapid Release Gels, $10.50, amazon.com

iHealth No Touch Forehead Thermometer

Be prepared with a no-touch thermometer like this one. (Photo: Amazon)
Be prepared with a no-touch thermometer like this one. (Photo: Amazon)

A good thermometer is crucial to have at home, and the iHealth No-Touch Forehead Thermometer—nearly 60 percent off!—is perfect for getting a quick body temperature. The temperature will show in seconds on the easy-to-read, large LED digital display.

“Monitoring and recording temperature progression using a working thermometer is important data to provide to health care professionals when needing to discuss the ongoing illness,” says Weatherhead.

This option uses three different sensors to deliver reliable results. Just hold it a few centimeters away from the forehead, push the button and get a quick reading. A nice bonus: The thermometer vibrates when it’s ready instead of beeping, so you don’t have to worry about waking someone who is sleeping.

Shop it: iHealth No Touch Forehead Thermometer, $25 (was $60), amazon.com

The New Rules of Aging Well

Curl up with this book—and tweak your habits for the better.
Curl up with this book—and tweak your habits for the better.

Immunity is closely related to lifestyle choices—from the food you eat to how well you sleep. In this new book, Dr. Frank Lipman gives you a seven-step program to a strong immune system and better overall health. Think of it as a visit with a high-end doctor where you get all your questions answered. Smart, current and beautiful (with gorgeous photos), it’s an easy-to-follow roadmap to a resilient immune system—essential reading for COVID times. And it’s on sale right now!

Shop it: The New Rules of Aging Well, $23 (was $25), amazon.com

Mr. Clean Multi-Surfaces Summer Citrus Antibacterial Liquid Cleaner

Mr. Clean Multi-Surfaces Summer Citrus Antibacterial Liquid Cleaner. (Photo: Amazon)
Mr. Clean Multi-Surfaces Summer Citrus Antibacterial Liquid Cleaner. (Photo: Amazon)

Mr. Clean is back in stock on Amazon! This 176-ounce bottle of cleanser kills 99.9 percent of bacteria. Use it to sanitize countertops, floors and high-touch surfaces.

“Always keep cleaning products on hand in the home,” says Margaret Quinn, a clinical associate professor at the Rutgers School of Nursing. “There is no reason to hoard products, but use the general rule of using one bottle and having a second on hand.” 

Shop it: Mr. Clean Multi-Surfaces Summer Citrus Antibacterial Liquid Cleaner, $20 (was $25), amazon.com

Zacurate Fingertip Pulse Oximeter

Zacurate Fingertip Pulse Oximeter. (Photo: Amazon)
Zacurate Fingertip Pulse Oximeter. (Photo: Amazon)

“It’s important to note this up front: A pulse oximeter won’t diagnose COVID-19 or the flu, but it can give you an indication if someone doesn’t have enough oxygen in their blood,” Fernando says.

This pulse oximeter slides onto your fingertip and gives a reading in seconds (your blood oxygen saturation should be anywhere between 95 and 100 percent, according to the World Health Organization).

“Typically patients with mild-moderate COVID can remain home during the course of the illness,” Weatherhead says. “However, if oxygen saturation starts to decline, this is an immediate indication to seek medical care.”

Take note: A pulse oximeter won’t work well if you’re wearing dark nail polish, so it’s important to remove any nail color before use.

Shop it: Zacurate Fingertip Pulse Oximeter, $20 (was $22), amazon.com

Lysol Hand Sanitizer, 2-ounce (6-pack)

Lysol Hand Sanitizer, 2-ounce (6-pack). (Photo: Amazon)
Lysol Hand Sanitizer, 2-ounce (6-pack). (Photo: Amazon)

Lysol hand sanitizer is truly the gold standard: It kills 99.99 percent of germs in as little as 15 seconds thanks to its 70 percent alcohol formula, which follows CDC guidelines. This version is particularly nice, as it’s enriched with moisturizing aloe vera and leaves behind a refreshing lemon scent. With this bundle, you’ll get six travel-sized bottles for $17—that breaks down to about $2.80 a pop. You’ll get the hand sanitizer from trusted seller Pharmapacks, which has high ratings and solid customer service.

Shop it: Lysol Hand Sanitizer, 2-ounce (six-pack), $12 (was $16), amazon.com

Seventh Generation Purely Clean Hand Wash Soap, Fresh Lemon, 12-ounce (8-pack)

Seventh Generation Purely Clean Hand Wash Soap, Fresh Lemon, 12-ounce (eight-pack). (Photo: Amazon)
Seventh Generation Purely Clean Hand Wash Soap, Fresh Lemon, 12-ounce (eight-pack). (Photo: Amazon)

“Having extra hand soap is always important, as everyone should be washing their hands more frequently throughout the day,” Quinn says.

Stock up with this eight-pack from Seventh Generation in a pleasant Fresh Lemon scent. The naturally derived gel hand wash is triclosan-free and biodegradable. And, most importantly, it gets the job done.

Shop it: Seventh Generation Purely Clean Hand Wash Soap, Fresh Lemon, 12-ounce (eight-pack), $24 (was $31), amazon.com

The reviews quoted above reflect the most recent versions at the time of publication.

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