There are a number of products on the market to help sanitize against the Ebola virus, the H1N1 flu, and other viruses we don’t want to catch. For home and personal use you will want to consider having these products on hand:
HOME / PERSONAL:
- Hand Sanitizer – Hand sanitizers are effective against bacteria, not necessarily viruses. t want to cling to it. So it does reduce the amount of a virus that can cling to your hand but it does not kill it.
- Bleach – Chlorine bleach is effective at killing viruses, including strains of the flu, as well as bacteria, because it actually penetrates the germs’ outer membranes to kill them completely. In fact, a 2007 study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine found that chlorine was a much more effective disinfectant than standard antibacterial products, which are ineffective against viruses. Because you mix it with water, a little bit can go a long way.
- Lysol Disinfectant – Lysol disinfectant is very good for home and office use. It is to be used on non-porous SOLID surfaces and should not be used on your hands/body.
Cleaning and disinfecting are part of a broad approach to preventing infectious diseases. Other measures include covering coughs and sneezes, washing hands, and keeping sick people away from others. Avoiding surfaces where there is a high volume of community use. Below are tips on how to slow the spread of flu specifically through cleaning and disinfecting.
Know the difference between cleaning, disinfecting, and sanitizing
Cleaning removes germs, dirt, and impurities from surfaces or objects. Cleaning works by using soap (or detergent) and water to physically remove germs from surfaces. This process does not necessarily kill germs, but by removing them, it lowers their numbers and the risk of spreading infection.
Disinfecting kills germs on surfaces or objects. Disinfecting works by using chemicals to kill germs on surfaces or objects. This process does not necessarily clean dirty surfaces or remove germs, but by killing germs on a surface after cleaning, it can further lower the risk of spreading infection.
Sanitizing lowers the number of germs on surfaces or objects to a safe level, as judged by public health standards or requirements. This process works by either cleaning or disinfecting surfaces or objects to lower the risk of spreading infection.
Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that are touched often
Follow your school’s standard procedures for routine cleaning and disinfecting. Typically, this means daily sanitizing surfaces and objects that are touched often, such as desks, countertops, doorknobs, computer keyboards, hands-on learning items, faucet handles, phones, and toys. Some schools may also require daily disinfecting these items. Standard procedures often call for disinfecting specific areas of the school, like bathrooms.
Immediately clean surfaces and objects that are visibly soiled. If surfaces or objects are soiled with body fluids or blood, use gloves and other standard precautions to avoid coming into contact with the fluid. Remove the spill, and then clean and disinfect the surface.
Clean and disinfect correctly
Always follow label directions on cleaning products and disinfectants. Wash surfaces with a general household cleaner to remove germs. Rinse with water, and follow with an EPA-registered disinfectant to kill germs. Read the label to make sure it states that EPA has approved the product for effectiveness against influenza A virus.
If an EPA-registered disinfectant is not available, use a fresh chlorine bleach solution. To make and use the solution:
Add 1 tablespoon of bleach to 1 quart (4 cups) of water. For a larger supply of disinfectant, add ¼ cup of bleach to 1 gallon (16 cups) of water.
Apply the solution to the surface with a cloth.
Let it stand for 3 to 5 minutes.
Rinse the surface with clean water.
If a surface is not visibly dirty, you can clean it with an EPA-registered product that both cleans (removes germs) and disinfects (kills germs) instead. Be sure to read the label directions carefully, as there may be a separate procedure for using the product as a cleaner or as a disinfectant. Disinfection usually requires the product to remain on the surface for a certain period of time.
Use disinfecting wipes on electronic items that are touched often, such as phones and computers. Pay close attention to the directions for using disinfecting wipes. It may be necessary to use more than one wipe to keep the surface wet for the stated length of contact time. Make sure that the electronics can withstand the use of liquids for cleaning and disinfecting.
Routinely wash eating utensils in a dishwasher (many have a sanitizer button) or by hand with soap and water. Wash and dry bed sheets, towels, and other linens as you normally do with household laundry soap, according to the fabric labels. Eating utensils, dishes, and linens used by sick persons do not need to be cleaned separately, but they should not be shared unless they’ve been washed thoroughly. Wash your hands with soap and water after handling soiled dishes and laundry items.
In your home there is little chance of the Ebola virus floating in the door like the flu. However in our modern society we travel frequently, fly to far destinations for vacation, take cruises and many other things where many people have contact with everyday items. How many people touched that bathroom door at the mall you just pushed open? Did any of them travel on a plane recently where someone else may have contracted a virus…flu? Ebola? H1N1?
It’s always good to have disinfectants and sanitizers handy!