Thursday, September 17, 2009

Flu prevention: Can you do it without Clorox?

Flu prevention - particularly H1N1 and pandemic planning - has been on my list of hot projects lately at work. It's hard to advise people when even the CDC is evolving its understanding of the virus.

Many of the recommendations I read involve super-sanitizing everything - including regular use of hand sanitizers as your Plan B. Clorox and other cleaning wipes and hand sanitizers are well-positioned next to every cash register these days. And a coworker of mine is already choking us with regular use of Oust in the office. But can you take your flu prevention efforts a little greener? Yes!

Here are some of the CDC's recommendations on preventing the transmission of the flu (including H1N1):
  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it. Wash your hands immediately after.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and warm water. Wash for 15 to 20 seconds. Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs spread this way.
  • Try to avoid close contact with sick people.
  • Keep surfaces (especially bedside tables, surfaces in the bathroom, kitchen counters and toys for children) clean.
  • If someone in your home is sick, don't use their dishes or utensils if they haven't been washed.
  • Avoid “hugging” laundry when you're carrying it to the washing machine it to prevent contaminating yourself. Wash your hands with soap and water after handling dirty laundry.
  • Wash linens using household laundry soap and tumble dry on a hot setting. (I know, not the greenest, but it beats getting a bug!)
  • When possible, keep the sick person in a room separate from the common areas of the house.
  • If you use cloth towels, assign different colored cloth towels to each person in the household.

Hmmm....Sounds like a lot of common sense during a potentially stressful time!

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