The Flu News

Another way to keep from getting the flu - clean.
The news is full of reports concerning flu outbreaks throughout the United States. With stories about there is still time to get a flu shot. In addition, there have been public service announcements about the Three Cs to stave off the flu: Cover your cough; Clean your hands; and Contain germs.

Hand WashingOne inexpensive suggestion that has gotten limited air time: general cleaning. Before you scoff at the idea of cleaning your house, here are three things to consider.

How long can influenza virus remain viable on objects (such as books and doorknobs)?
Studies have shown that influenza virus can survive on environmental surfaces and can infect a person for 2 to 8 hours after being deposited on the surface.

What surfaces are most likely to be sources of contamination?
Germs can be spread when a person touches something that is contaminated with germs and then touches his or her eyes, nose, or mouth. Droplets from a cough or sneeze of an infected person move through the air. Germs can be spread when a person touches respiratory droplets from another person on a surface like a desk, for example, and then touches their own eyes, mouth or nose before washing their hands.

Most diseases are spread through hand contact.
Every three minutes, a child brings his/her hand to his/her nose or mouth.
Every 60 seconds, a working adult touches as many as 30 objects.

Reading this information makes cleaning look pretty attractive. :)

CleaningSo what household cleaning should be done to prevent the spread of influenza virus?
To prevent the spread of influenza virus it is important to keep surfaces especially bedside tables, surfaces in the bathroom, kitchen counters and toys (for children) clean by wiping them down with a household disinfectant according to directions on the product label.

How should linens, eating utensils and dishes of persons infected with influenza virus be handled?
Linens, eating utensils, and dishes belonging to those who are sick do not need to be cleaned separately, but more importantly these items should not be shared without washing thoroughly first.

Linens (such as bed sheets and towels) should be washed by using household laundry soap and tumbled dry on a hot setting. Individuals should avoid "hugging" laundry prior to washing it to prevent contaminating themselves. Individuals should wash their hands with soap and water or alcohol-based hand rub immediately after handling dirty laundry.

Eating utensils should be washed either in a dishwasher or by hand with water and soap.

Posted on 1/15/2013 by The Flu Guru