Cleaning tips to keep the flu bug away

Cleaning tips to keep the flu bug away

With everyone in your household touching the same TV remote, door handles and light switches on a daily basis, spreading the flu virus from one family member to the next may become a common occurrence. Highly rated experts agree it’s important to keep your home clean, specifically with the flu bug in mind.

“Disinfectants should be applied in a manner that surfaces remain wet, and the cleaner is allowed to evaporate,” says Donna Bopp, a registered nurse and infection control coordinator at Clarian North Medical Center in Carmel, Ind.

This allows the cleaner enough time to penetrate and kill more germs because the flu virus can live on surfaces for up to eight hours.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends cleaning with chemicals including chlorine, hydrogen peroxide, detergents (soap), iodophors (iodine-based antiseptics) and alcohols.

And Lucinda Ryan, owner of A Home Maid Clean Inc. in Tampa, Fla., says cleaning with soap and hot water is better than doing nothing. She also suggests using home cleaning remedies such as diluting 2 ounces of vinegar with 10 ounces of water in a spray bottle and adding a few drops of essential oils such as eucalyptus, lemon or tea tree.

While the 5 percent concentrated vinegar found at grocery stores will work, Derek Christian, owner of My Maid Service in Cincinnati, says it has been shown to only kill 90 percent of germs, whereas cleaning products labeled as “disinfectant” kill 99.99 percent of germs.

Whether you use natural or chemical cleaners, Cheryl Stonestreet, of Cheryl’s Cleaning Services in Indianapolis, urges parents to clean all surfaces within the reach of kids’ hands. “Smaller children, for example, are often too short to use a handrail along a staircase, so they’ll use the balusters [or rail supports] instead,” she says.

If someone in your family does get the flu, it’s best to limit where they go in the household. “Keep them away from others as much as possible,” Bopp says. “If there are enough bathrooms, have them use their own. If not, clean surfaces daily.”

— by Leslie Benson


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