Clean Away the Flu - Tips to Not Spread Germs

The flu and other illnesses have been very active this year. Influenza 'A' and 'B' along with strep throat and a very aggressive stomach bug have wreaked havoc on the public health. Schools all across Ohio are canceling class, sporting events and practices due to illness and using that downtime to clean. School buildings, gyms, offices and even the buses are all getting a big dose of disinfectant. 

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that from October 1, 2019, through January 25, 2020, there have been:

Keep in mind, these numbers are on the rise.  An ounce of prevention is equal to a pound of cure and on that note, here are some cleaning tips to help keep those germs at bay in your own home. 

Work With the Little Ones

Kids are loveable, innocent and sweet, but they also can become cutely packaged germ factories. Sit down and talk with your children about ways to prevent germs from spreading. Just cover the main points below and if they're visual learners, feel free to show them this educational children's video that the Saskatchewan Health Authority created. 

  • Wash your hands
  • Cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze
  • Don't touch your eyes, nose or mouth
  • Don't share food or drinks

Keep the Germs From Spreading

If someone in your house gets sick, there's a good chance you're going to come into contact with something they've touched. Aside from actually quarantining an ill family member, there are some things you can do to help prevent the spread of germs.

  • Clean bedding daily until the sick person has no more symptoms
  • Keep tissues readily available to catch coughs and sneezes instead of using hands
  • Don't share anything with the ill person
  • Wash bath and hand towels immediately after the ill person has used them and use disposable items when you can
  • Weekly, wash anything that may be communal during the cold and flu season. These could be pillows, blankets, throws, really anything that is shared should be washed.

Disinfect Contact Points

Just think about how many things your touch in a day. These contact points are hubs for germs to spread. To prevent this, we'll focus on cleaning the most common touchpoints at home and in your office. Hitting these with a disinfecting spray or wipe will go a long way in prevention.

  • TV remotes and video game controllers
  • Door handles, knobs and locks
  • Keys and cell phones
  • Light switches
  • Stair rails
  • Sink Faucets and toilet handles
  • Mouse, keyboard, phones, copiers and scanners
  • Refrigerator, stove, drawer and cabinet handles

Know What You Are Using To Clean

Wipes and disinfectant sprays are both practical and efficient ways to kill germs. Unfortunately, a quick spray or wipe isn't the only step in the process the cleaners take some time to do their job. Pay attention to the directions on the cleaner and you'll be in great shape!

The popular brand, Lysol® Disinfectant Spray lists it's usage information as follows:

Pre-clean surfaces prior to use. Hold can upright 6" to 8" from the surface. Spray 3 to 4 seconds until covered with mist.

To Disinfect: Surfaces must remain wet for 3 minutes then allow to air dry. For Norovirus surfaces must remain wet for 10 minutes then allow to air dry.  Rinse toys and food contact surfaces with potable water after use.

To Sanitize: Surfaces must remain wet for 10 seconds then allow to air dry.

Wash Your Cleaning Supplies

Not much to this one; you have to have clean supplies to clean. Just like you wouldn't mop with dirty water, you shouldn't clean with dirty microfiber cloths. Although it may not be as noticeable as dark, grimy mop water, it's essential to notice when you need to clean your supplies. If you don't, you'll just end up spreading germs around.

Once you notice your cloth is ready to be cleaned, soak it in hot soapy water for about 3 minutes. Rinse it with warm water to get all the soap out and hang to dry or pop in the dryer for a quicker process. Once it is dry, you're ready to use it again.

Nobody likes being sick, but if you focus on what you can control you can give you and your family a better chance to be healthy during this year's cold and flu season.