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8 Smart home products that can help you combat the flu

Flu season is never fun, especially if multiple members of your family or friend group end up catching it. A bad case of the flu can knock you down for weeks and leave you feeling awful. But let’s look on the bright side: There are plenty of smart home upgrades you can make to help fight the flu — or least stay more comfortable while curled on your couch. Here are our favorites that help the most when you’re feeling lousy.

1. Nest Smart Thermostat

Adjusting the temperature on the Google Nest Thermostat.

The latest Nest Smart Thermostat from Google is more affordable than ever while still offering some of the best thermostat features around. That includes easy temperature adjustment right from the app, so you can bump the temp up or down depending on how the chills and fever are going. The proximity detectors can also tell when you’re shuffling around in the middle of the night, unable to sleep, and will turn on the heat to help keep you warm. We’re also big fans of Ecobee’s new SmartThermostat, which includes additional comfort settings that are easy to set if you’re willing to pay a bit more.

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2. Dyson AM10 Humidifier

Dyson AM10 Humidifier White and Silver.

At its most practical level, a humidifier adds water vapor to the air, and that’s really valuable when fighting the flu. During colder months, the air inside our homes tends to dry out and get stale, which can make lung and nasal symptoms worse or lead to a longer recovery. Humidifiers counteract this by adding more moisture to the air. But a smart humidifier can do so much more to help with your air quality.

Dyson’s model is an excellent example. The humidifier sprays moisturized air, and has a projection capability to ensure the mist is sent far away so it can work in larger rooms. However, the Dyson also uses an ultraviolet filter to kill off any bacteria that floats through the humidifier. That’s particularly handy if you want to help keep others from getting infected. This humidifier is also especially quiet, so you can run it while trying to get some sleep without being disturbed. Not sure what the air inside your home is like? Dyson’s model can also measure temperature and moisture levels so you know when things are getting too dry.

3. Honeywell InSight Air Purifier

Honeywell InSight Air Purifier.

A humidifier’s primary job is to raise the moisture level of the air for comfort. While some have filters, cleaning isn’t their primary task. However, air purifiers specialize in keeping air clean. They not only remove infectious particles like viruses, but can also remove allergens and dust from the air, which tend to build up during winter when homes stay closed to outside air. Some models even help remove smells from the air or monitor for harmful particles like VOCs (volatile organic compounds).

This Honeywell model is specifically designed for large rooms, and does a little of everything we mentioned. It comes with four different modes depending on what you want to target the most, like germs, allergens, or just general cleaning. It’ll also help get rid of smoke and cooking smells, which is important if the flu leaves you feeling a bit nauseous and you want to avoid any triggers. Just keep in mind that you’ll need to replace filters periodically to keep the purifier functioning properly.

For more information on when to run an air purifier and how long to run the purifier during the day, check out our full guide on how to use an air purifier.

4. A smart coffee maker

Hamilton Beach Alexa Coffee Maker.

Smart coffee makers work by voice command or app so you can schedule them whenever you need. This is a great boon when you’re not exactly sure when you’ll be able to crawl out of bed while you have the flu, or when you want to make some hot water for soothing tea but don’t feel like leaving the sofa any time soon.

You can explore our smart coffee maker buying guide, but many come with at least a few smart options these days, so there are plenty of choices. A simple option is this Hamilton Beach Coffee Maker, which works with both Alexa voice commands and the Alexa app so you can schedule it from anywhere. If you find this voice-command feature intriguing, check out this guide to the best Alexa-enabled coffee makers.

5. HidrateSpark Pro Water Bottle

HidrateSpark Pro Water Bottle.

Any doctor will tell you one of the most important parts of fighting the flu is to drink lots of water. If you’re not great about following through on that, this HidrateSpark bottle is here to help. That glowing base isn’t just for show — the LED lights and sensors start to glow when it’s time to take your next drink to make sure you’re staying totally hydrated. There’s a rechargeable battery in the shatterproof plastic case, and you can use the compatible app to track water intake across a period of days if you want. Everything is safe to put in the dishwasher, too.

6. The FluView app

The FluView app data.

If you don’t have the flu yet, but want as much information as possible to stay help yourself stay healthy, you may be interested in this app. This Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) flu app provides a detailed look at current data, including where the flu is spreading, both nationally and by state. The geographic data will probably be the most useful, as you can see when the flu is really hitting your area so you can stock up on cough drops.

7. Instant Pot Smart

Instant Pot Wmart wi-fi model.

There’s nothing like nourishing soup for the flu, but if you’ve come down with it, you probably don’t feel like making anything. That’s where this Instant Pot comes in. Instant Pots are particularly easy and safe to use, while cutting cooking times down and making soups a breeze as long as you have the strength to throw all the ingredients into the pot and push a button. It can also send notifications to your phone if you want to get updates about when your soup or stew is ready. If you want something a bit more filling after your fever breaks, it’s a great pot for cooking anything from rice and teriyaki chicken to steaming fish or making an easy beef ragu!

8. A sanitizer station

Coral UV2 UV light sanitizer.

Flu germs can spread easily and quickly. You can try to limit exposure to other people in the home by sanitizing the items you touch — like your cell phone, iPad, and remote control. The Coral UV 2 uses UVC LEDs to destroy 99.9% of harmful germs. The unit can sanitize, filter, and dry items you constantly touch in about 10 minutes. The sanitizing box features a wire basket so you can dry multiple items and is ideal for sanitizing all the areas of a phone in a single session. We put the Coral’s first sanitizer to the test and found that it really does kill germs.

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At first glance, air purifiers and essential oil diffusers seem like they would be natural opponents. One is designed to take particles from the air in your home, and the other is designed to add (pleasant-smelling) particles instead. If you’re running them both in the same room, it’s understandable to wonder if they’re canceling each other out.

Fortunately, it’s easy to clear this confusion up. Let’s take a look at some FAQs about these two home air devices and what you should know about using them both at the same time.
What's the difference between an air purifier and an air diffuser?
An air purifier uses a filter or series of filters to remove unwanted particles from your home’s air. They are commonly used to get rid of airborne allergens, smoke, and dust, and they can also help remove bacteria and viruses from the air. The best air purifiers use true HEPA filters that can remove particles down to the size of 0.3 microns, and some newer models can remove particles as small as 0.1 microns.

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How long do I run my air purifier?
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In previous guides, we’ve discussed how today’s smart air purifiers work and what specs to look at when getting the right size for your room or house -- like CADR, or Clean Air Delivery Rate. But air purifiers can only cycle through a room’s air when they are turned on … which leads us to another important question: Just how long should you run your air purifier? Can you run it for too long? Don’t worry, we have all the answers.
How long should I run my air purifier?
The air quality inside your home is always changing, and the impact of your air purifier will depend on its size -- especially whether you want to clear up a single room or the whole house. In general, you can run an air purifier for a few hours a day and expect it to give the air in its space a thorough cleaning. If you’re only looking at one smaller room, half an hour to an hour can have the same result. That schedule can give you all the benefits that an air purifier offers without requiring it to be on all the time -- but you’ll want to run it at least once a day for best effect.

Do air purifier settings make a difference when running it?
They do. Most air purifiers have several fan settings that affect how quickly they push air through, in exchange for using more power and making more noise. If you only have a few hours a day to clean the air in your home and would prefer not to leave the purifier on when you are away, turn it to its maximum setting and let it run. Just note that max settings on most air purifiers will be too loud to hold a meeting in the same room.
Is it safe to run an air purifier all the time?
Yes. Air purifiers are generally designed to be run all the time if you prefer to. You can put the purifier on its lowest setting to diminish noise and let it run throughout the day.

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When people think of fitness gadgets, health trackers and smartwatches are probably the most common items that spring to mind. While smartwatches and fitness trackers are fantastic, the range of helpful gadgets that can help you improve your fitness level and keep you on track to your goals is ever-expanding.

In this article, we'll look at five great fitness gadgets that can track your workouts, measure and weigh your progress, keep you moving, and help you recover after a hard workout.

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