Just clean. Simple cleaning is incredibly effective in reducing cold, flu, and other viruses. Cleaning removes soil, dirt, and other impurities that harbor germs and viruses like the flu and the common cold. Routine cleaning at home and at the office plays a crucial role in reducing the spread of the cold and flu. Remember, cleaning and disinfecting are not the same thing. Cleaning is often one step to disinfect a surface, which kills the germs.
Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces. The flu virus can survive and possibly infect a person for 2 - 8 hours after contacting a surface. Ideally, frequently touched surfaces in the home and office are cleaned and disinfected daily and even more often when there is an outbreak. Immediately clean and disinfect surfaces that are visibly soiled with body fluids (vomit, urine, etc.) or blood. Follow precautions set forth in the OSHA Bloodborne Pathogen Standard.
Keep with the cleaning and disinfecting routine. Cold and flu viruses are relatively weak and basic cleaning processes are sufficient to kill them. It is not necessary to close the facility and do a special deep clean after an outbreak has occurred-in fact, frequent and heavy cleaning processes may cause irritation of the eyes, nose, throats, and skin and aggravate asthma.
Clean and disinfect correctly. Always follow the label directions on cleaning products and disinfectants. Most disinfecting products require the surface to be cleaned first as dirt, soil and grime harbor germs that need to be removed prior to disinfecting. The disinfectant kills any remaining viruses after the germ harboring solids are wiped away. Note that there is also a dwell time that is required to allow the disinfectant to properly kill the viruses.
Select the right products. Choose EPA registered products with label claims that indicate that the product kills the cold and flu. If the surface isn’t visibly dirty, you may opt to choose a product that will clean and disinfect the surface. Check the label for the proper dwell time.
Use the products safely! Read the labels and understand any potential hazards associated with the products. If the chemicals require gloves, eye protection, or masks, use them. Never mix chemicals - mixing chemicals could cause serious injury or death. Make sure that the individuals who are using the cleaning products have been educated in how to use the products safely and effectively.