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4 Tips to Cold and Flu Proof Your Home

Cartoon of a kid covered in germs

The following article was published in the October 2016 USA Today Fighting the Flu Campaign

We’d all like to avoid the often unpleasant and sometimes serious symptoms of the flu. Vaccination can help, but here are some extra precautions you can take to prevent the illness from spreading in your home:

1. Pick the right product

Household products are effective tools for eliminating cold and flu causing viruses.It’s important to pick the right product for the right area of your home.

In eliminating cold and flu viruses, you will want to use a disinfectant product.Disinfectants are regulated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and are proven effective. Read the label to ensure the product kills cold and flu viruses. Follow the use instructions on the product to disinfect hard surfaces in your home (i.e. counters, door knobs, bathrooms, sinks) and eliminate most cold and flu-causing viruses.

2. Let your cleaner work

All disinfectants require contact time to work effectively. You can find this on the label of the product. Disinfectants may require up to 10 minutes to work effectively. Immediately wiping away a product after use does not effectively eliminate cold and flu viruses. You can also check the label to make sure your product kills the cold and flu viruses.

3. Wash your hands

Use soap and water to wash away germs. It’s important to wash your hands for at least 20 seconds. Always wash your hands before eating, before and after caring for someone who is sick, after using the bathroom, and after coughing or sneezing. Don’t touch your face with dirty hands! Use an alcohol-based hand-sanitizer when you can’t wash your hands to help eliminate bacteria. 

4. Practice good habits 

Never use your hands when coughing or sneezing. Use a tissue, or if you don’t have one, cough or sneeze into your sleeve or elbow. Teach your children this habit by using a spray bottle filled with water. Show them how far cold and flu viruses can go by squirting the bottle. Then show them how both a tissue and your elbow stops the water. This visual will be a reminder when they cough or sneeze.

SARA STICKLER, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, ALLIANCE FOR CONSUMER EDUCATION

 

 

 

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