Flu-Busters for Your Home

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Flu season got off to an early start in Prince William County this year (in fact the earliest it’s been in a decade), and health officials are warning that it could be a harsh, long and feverish season.

While getting a flu vaccination is always recommended, there’s no guarantee that it will be fully effective, or that it will work against the type of flu virus to which you are exposed.  One of the best ways to protect against flu is to limit your exposure. That includes disinfecting surfaces including door handles, phones and keyboards that might have come in contact with the virus.

Merry Maids of Prince William, Fauquier & Culpeper Counties has some tips for your readers on ways to safeguard their families and their homes from the flu.

Antibacterial vs. Disinfectant First things first, antibacterial cleaners do not kill germs. To be labeled antibacterial, a product must suppress bacteria only. It doesn’t have to do anything about viruses or fungi. For that, you need a disinfectant, which must kill 99.9999 percent of all microorganisms.

  • Don’t Just Spray and Wipe Whether you’re using an antibacterial or disinfectant solution, it doesn’t always kill germs on contact. Many products have to be left on a surface for up to ten minutes to work effectively.
  • The Vinegar Solution? White vinegar is a cheap, safe and effective way to kill some bacteria, mold and germs, but not everything. For example, it’s been proven to kill salmonella and e.coli, but it won’t touch flu. For that, the most effective sanitizer is bleach. Be sure to dilute it and use it in a well-ventilated room. You can also use iodine-based antiseptics or rubbing alcohol.
  • Life of Vi(rus) The CDC reports that a flu virus can infect a person for two to eight hours after it touches a surface.  The only way to avoid contracting these germs is to sanitize every surface that someone with the flu touches or breathes upon.
  • Laundry Quandary After someone in your household has been sick you definitely should wash their towels and bed linens immediately. You don’t necessarily need to separate these items from the rest of your laundry, but do avoid transporting them by hand or by holding them close to your body (use a basket), and wash your hands immediately after you’ve put them in the washing machine.

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