- Sanitize hot spots1,2: Cold and flu viruses are frequently transmitted by direct contact with contaminated hard, nonporous surfaces,3 such as plastic, finished wood, and metal. The influenza virus may be transmitted via such surfaces for two to eight hours.1 Use an antibacterial wipe or bleach solution to disinfect the frequently touched hard surfaces around your home, such as faucet handles, doorknobs, phones, countertops, keyboards, stairway railings, and remote controls.2
- Keep hands clean4,5,6: Because hand-to-hand and hand-to-surface contact are two of the most effective ways to spread viruses,3 frequent hand washing is essential. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, when soap and water are not available, alcohol-based hand sanitizers are a convenient way to keep hands clean.4 Consider getting bottles of hand sanitizer for places far from sinks: the car, the garage, the basement, and high-contact places away from home, such as work or the gym.
- Separate food rations1: Avoid serving foods in one bowl or platter for a group of people to use communally. Pour snacks into individual containers rather than letting everyone reach into the bag. For more practical tips on preventing cold and flu, the CDC offers the “An Ounce of Prevention” brochure.
- Issue tissues5,7: Sneezing spreads germs quickly. Give your family members tissues to cover their cough or sneeze. Stash tissue boxes or travel packs in key places: kitchen, bathrooms, bedrooms, glove boxes, backpacks, and purses. For extra care, check out Puffs Plus® with the Scent of Vicks® nonmedicated facial tissue.
- Flu vaccination8,9: According to the CDC, “the best way to protect against influenza is to get a flu vaccine every flu season.”
Talk to your doctor or healthcare provider to determine whether flu vaccination may be appropriate for you and your family. Learn more about the flu shot.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Seasonal Influenza (Flu)—How to Clean and Disinfect Schools to Help Slow the Spread of Flu. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/flu/school/cleaning.htm.
Accessed 9 November 2011.
Turner, R.B. The common cold. In: Mandell, G.L., Bennett, J.E., Dolin, R., eds. Principles and Practice of Infectious Diseases. 7th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Elsevier Churchill Livingstone; 2009:chap 53.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Handwashing: Clean Hands Save Lives. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/handwashing/.
Accessed on 18 October 2011.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Seasonal Influenza (Flu)—Preventing the Flu: Good Health Habits Can Help Stop Germs. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/flu/protect/habits.htm.
Accessed 8 March 2011.