Spread the love … not the flu! We all know surface disinfection is an important step in keeping a healthy home, and that’s especially true during flu season. To help you out, we’ve put together some helpful guidelines on how to disinfect surfaces in your house when a family member comes down with the dreaded flu.

How Does Flu Spread?

“Influenza” more commonly known as the flu spreads when people inhale mucous droplets projected into the air when an infected person sneezes, coughs, or even breathes.

This contagious respiratory illness typically peaks during colder months, when people are likely to be in close, indoor contact, but can last through the spring and as late as May, according to the CDC.

How Long is the Flu Contagious?

Flu symptoms begin 1-4 days after the virus enters your body, and you may be contagious before you even realize you’re sick. In fact, most healthy adults are contagious one day before flu symptoms develop, and continue to be contagious up to about a week after they first show symptoms.

Flu may last even longer in children and people with weakened immune systems, which really speaks to the importance of disinfecting surfaces in your house when a family member has the flu.

How to Disinfect Surfaces to Avoid Spreading the Flu

One of the best ways to avoid spreading the flu is to disinfect surfaces in your house that may have come in contact with a sick family member (or vice versa), including frequently touched surfaces.

Surface How to Disinfect
Hard Surfaces (i.e., countertops, doorknobs) Clean the surface with warm, soapy water. Disinfect with a diluted chlorine bleach solution of 1 gallon of water and ¼ cup of regular strength bleach (5.25-6%). Let air dry.
Baby Toys Clean non-absorbent toys with soapy water, rinse with clear water, and wipe dry with disposable paper towels. Disinfect with a diluted chlorine bleach solution of 1 gallon of water and ¼ cup of regular strength bleach (5.25-6%). Let the solution remain wet on the toy surface for 3-5 minutes, then rinse the surface thoroughly with clean water.
Electronics Remote controls: Use a dry cloth or vacuum cleaner with an appropriate attachment to remove all visible particles. Then swab with a pre-moistened disinfecting wipe that is designated as safe for use on electronics.

Computer keyboards: Disconnect from the computer and use a vacuum cleaner with the appropriate attachment to remove all visible particles. Then swab with a pre-moistened disinfecting wipe that is designated as safe for use on electronics.

Video game controllers: Disconnect from the game console and use a vacuum cleaner with the appropriate attachment or a dry cloth to remove all visible particles. Then swab with a pre-moistened disinfecting wipe that is designated as safe for use on electronics.

Computer mouse: Disconnect from the computer and use a dry cloth to remove all visible particles. Then swab with a pre-moistened disinfecting wipe that is designated as safe for use on electronics.

Smartphone and tablet covers (plastic): Remove the cover from the device and use a dry cloth to remove all visible particles. Then swab with a pre-moistened disinfecting wipe that is designated as safe for use on electronics.

Touch screens: Disconnect the device from its electronic source and use a dry cloth to remove all visible particles. Then clean with a scratch-free product designed for electronics.

In addition to disinfecting surfaces, encourage your family to take the following precautions to help prevent the spread of flu … both at home and in public:

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home if you’re sick.
  • Cover your mouth and nose (using a tissue) when you sneeze or cough. If you don’t have a tissue, sneeze or cough into the crook of your elbow.
  • Wash your hands often using soap and water. Scrub for at least 20 seconds (the time it takes to hum the “Happy Birthday” song twice, from beginning to end).
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth.
  • Get plenty of rest, stay active, stay hydrated, and eat healthy foods.

With these tips, your family and house will be ready to take on flu season!