Three Tips: Cleaning to Prevent Flu

By Amy Milshtein

Three Tips: Cleaning to Prevent Flu

People will do anything to keep from getting sick. Check out these quirky suggestions from Health. Eat a high-protein diet. Sweat in a dry sauna. Get a massage. And then there’s this gem: exhale when someone nearby is coughing or sneezing. 


These strategies won’t hurt, but they may not help either—and face it, you’ll have to inhale sometime. Luckily the CDC offers proven ways to prevent flu. Get a vaccine, avoid contact with sick people and keep your indoor environment clean.


Here are three tips for cleaning to prevent flu. Stay healthy!  


1. An Infectious Truth


According to flu.gov influenza predominately spreads from person to person via mucous membrane exposure to infectious respiratory secretions.  In other words, a sick person coughs or sneezes and everyone within six feet could get an eye, mouth or nose full of virus.


If holding your breath all season is starting to sound like a good idea, keep reading. Those large droplets settle out of the air quickly landing everywhere: floors, walls, windows, tables, countertops, desks, computers, door knobs, light switches, you name it. Then they hang out. Influenza A can survive on hard, nonporous surfaces for 24 to 48 hours, 72 hours if those surfaces are moist or wet. The virus lives on porous materials like cloth and paper for eight to 12 hours.


Touch these reservoirs of virus and then touch your eyes, mouth or nose and bam! You’ve got the flu.


2. Just Keep Cleaning


Don’t break out the Hazmat suit yet. Flu virus is relatively fragile so normal, everyday cleaning and disinfecting is enough to reduce their number on surfaces, according to flu.gov. Regular cleaning even combats pandemic strains of influenza which are different than seasonal varieties but just as weak.


So just clean, but clean well. Dirt, soil and impurities must be completely removed as they harbor viruses. Also disinfectants require dwell time on a clean surface to work properly. If your facility normally uses a string mop, consider an OmniFlex system or a No-Touch Cleaning system. These options remove soils quickly and completely.


3. Touchy Touchy


Thorough touchpoint cleaning to prevent flu may be the most important tip of all. Pay special attention to the places people put their hands. Door knobs and pulls, railings, elevator buttons and light switches should be cleaned and disinfected daily during the season. Increase frequency during a known outbreak.


The same care should be taken on restroom surfaces like handles, faucets, soap dispensers and doors pulls. Don’t forget above-the-floor surfaces throughout the facility like desks, tables, partition walls and windows.


Click here for more ideas on cleaning to prevent flu.

Amy Milshtein

Amy Milshtein

Amy Milshtein covers design, facility management and business topics for a variety of trade publications and consumer magazines. 

Her work has won several awards, most recently a regional silver Azbee Award of Excellence.

She lives in Portland, OR with her family and Clyde, a 15-lb tabby cat. Once an avid hiker, these days she finds herself on the less-challenging -but-still-exciting 'creaky knees' trails.

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