What's Going Around | Cleaning After Flu

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Flu season is brutal and with some schools closing because of it, it's time to talk about how we prevent the flu from spreading once it's hit your home. What do you disinfect? How to keep it from spreading from person to person?

First, check the label to make sure the disinfectant you are using works against the viruses you're targeting, such as cold and flu. When you use disinfectant sprays, paper towels are better than sponges, but disposable disinfectant wipes have an advantage because you typically wipe the surface and let it dry, which gives it more time to kill the organisms.

Disinfect these items after someone in your house has had the flu:

  1. Phones - cold and flu viruses survive on these devices, anywhere from a few hours to a few days.
  2. The remote control - it's one of the most touched - and least cleaned - items in your house.
  3. The bathroom - focus on the faucets since most people's hands go straight there before washing. Give the sick person their own hand towel, keep toothbrushes uncovered and isolate the toothbrush of the sick person from those of other family members. Use disposable cups when possible.
  4. Tables - all the tables in your house host cold and flu viruses, so make sure you've wiped those down.
  5. Computers - check the maker's instructions before cleaning. You may be able to wipe keyboards or screens with an alcohol wipe or a paper towel sprayed with disinfectant.
  6. Stuffed animals - when possible, toss your kid's stuffed animals in the laundry. If it's not washable, keep it away from everyone for a few days to let viruses on its surface die.
  7. Sheets, blankets, towels - wash all of these items at a high temperature and be sure to wash your hands after handling them.

Clean hands are just as important as a clean house, especially during flu season. Be sure that everyone in your house is washing their hands all over with warm water and soap for at least 20 seconds. Everyone should wash hands after using the bathroom, being outside or being in contact with the sick person; before eating, and before touching the eyes, nose or mouth. If you don't have soap and water, use hand sanitizers.

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