The germ that causes the flu virus can live on a surface including a book, toy, or cell phone for two hours or more! That doorknob or elevator button you just touched probably has flu germs on it. When you and the kids come home from a day at work or school? Flu germs probably come with you.
“Each year, up to 20 percent of the population gets the flu and more than 200,000 people are hospitalized from seasonal flu-related complications, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC),” comments Linda Hendrickson, owner of Maid Brigade of the Peninsula, the leading maid service company that serves Palo Alto residents.
“While flu seasons are unpredictable and you could make yourself crazy trying to prevent the inevitable, there are some easy ways to arm you and your family against the flu.”
Below are six simple tips for flu prevention from the residential cleaning experts at Maid Brigade.
1. Exercise to boost your immune system. Moderate exercise, such as brisk walking, for 45 minutes a day, five days a week can promote health and reduce the risk of the viruses by 30 percent – according to WebMD. The best results are long-term. In one study, women who walked for 12 months had the most resistance in the final quarter of the year.
2. Eat right and get plenty of rest. Sound like mom? Well, she was right. Eating vegetables and fruits full of antioxidants and getting at least seven hours of sleep a night can help keep you healthy.
3. Use natural disinfectant products when cleaning your home. The Maid Brigade Green Cleaning Guide offers recipes for cleaning products you can easily make at home. And, use microfiber cleaning cloths in each room of the house instead of sponges as studies show that sponges are a major source of germs. Separate microfiber cloths further prevent spreading germs from one room of the home into another.
4. Practice flu prevention at work. When possible, hold meetings in areas with good ventilation. Keep ample space between you and people who are sick, or, who sneeze or cough openly. Clean computer keyboards regularly and properly disinfect highly used common area surfaces such as conference and break room tables.
5. Teach your children proper hygiene etiquette. Be sure they know to cough into their elbow and to use a tissue when they sneeze. And, get them in the habit of hand washing as early as possible. A special tip from Rachel Orscheln, MD, a pediatrician at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, is to teach children to sing their favorite song every time they wash their hands. This way they will spend a solid amount of time with the soap.
6. Uncover surprising places where germs are lurking. Many surfaces and objects that we come in contact with every day are prime spots for harboring flu germs, but what about those “hidden areas” where germs may be lurking? Pay special attention to coffee makers, cutting boards, pillows, toothbrushes, bath mats, contact lens cases, pillows, and laundry baskets.