Disinfect–Don’t Infect

Disinfect – Don’t Infect

Controlling viral populations on household surfaces is an effective way to cut down on the spread of seasonal and H1N1 flu. Although flu viruses require live host cells to multiply and spread, they can live on inanimate surfaces for hours or even days. Good hygiene requires more than just cleaning. Proper disinfection provides an additional safeguard for areas where people come into contact with contaminated surfaces.

Disinfect frequently used surfaces with a diluted chlorine bleach solution or disinfectant wipes.

Some common surface areas are “hot spots” for germs, including doorknobs, counters, table tops, dials, handles and switches. In fact, it can take up to 3 days for viruses on surface areas to die. To use chlorine bleach for general surface area disinfection, use a fresh mixture of ¼ cup of household bleach with one gallon of cool water (if you need a small amount, use one tablespoon of bleach in a quart of water). Apply to surfaces. Leave wet for 10 minutes, then rinse.

Disinfectant wipes also can be used to eliminate viruses on everyday items, such as telephones, cell phones, computer keys, computer mouse, arm rests and children’s toys.

Clean dishes, cups and utensils in the dishwasher.

If washing by hand, use very hot water and use a diluted bleach solution in the rinse water to disinfect. The right mix is 1/4 cup of household laundry bleach in one gallon of water.

Use chlorine bleach on white bedding, towels and other laundry as appropriate.

According to a 2004 study by the National Institute of Nursing Research, households that use hot water and bleach in the laundry experience almost 25% less infections than households that do not bleach