Disinfecting During Cold and Flu Season
How Do I Protect My Home or Business?
A big question for most of us is quite simple; Which disinfectants work against colds and flus, especially the new H3N2 virus? Many home owners and business offices alike have questions about how to disinfect against germs and viruses after illness or to avoid a problem altogether. In the discussions addressed in this article, leading industry manufacturers answer common questions asked by people from all walks of life.
Most questions regarding not getting sick after a family member or co worker illness relate to finding out how can we disinfect surfaces more often during cold and flu season? Things like desks, phones, pens, door knobs, etc. at work are common to many people. In homes, similar items certainly come into play.
Most manufacturers of home and commercial cleaning products and surface cleaners available at the grocery stores, recommend that the average household should disinfect more often in the cold and flu season as people’s cold, flu, pneumonia and strep-throat symptoms cause them to release more infectious mucus into the indoor environment than would otherwise be the case when people are well.
The most effective way to prevent the spread of disease is frequent washing of hands and the prevention of hands from entering the mouth. This is a very simple but completely effective way to combat challenges in your home or office. While this may be one of the hardest to do with children, don’t forget that you can make sure all pacifiers, bottles, toys and games are wiped after each use and then placed in their appropriate storage areas. Any surface used daily can be easily wiped clean until the next day.
What should you use to disinfect your home or business?
First, the disinfectant in use should be effective against colds (rhinovirus) and flu (influenza). Unfortunately, most standard disinfectants do not kill rhinovirus. Next is frequency of disinfection should be considered in conjunction with the number of people touching the surface. If a person sits at their desk all day, disinfecting their phone and computer keyboard more than once a day probably is not needed. If hundreds of people touch an elevator button or door handle, this could be disinfected up to hourly, depending on the perceived level of risk.
If you are concerned about what to do when someone has an illness, disinfecting more during cold and flu seasons is usually not necessary unless individuals in remote proximity to one another are sick with bacteria/virus. In that case,it is highly recommended to disinfect frequently.
In anticipation of the winter flu season, the news of the new swine flu virus, influenza A H3N2, having pandemic potential, you may be asking how do I know which disinfectants to use to fight its spread?
There is no reason to switch disinfectants when a new virus is threatening the public health. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) process for approving kill-claims on newly isolated pathogens is so lengthy and time-consuming that the Agency posts its own list of currently registered products that it knows will kill the new virus pending the release of approved labeling; labeling that takes a year or more to obtain. We recommend that if you have concerns, go to the EPA website http:// www.epa.gov/ and find out the answers to any questions you may have.
“EPA last year established their perspective that if a disinfectant carries an Influenza claim, they will allow companies to promote their product as killing Influenza regardless of the strain of interest. Disinfectants have not shown strain specificity, meaning that they work on some Influenza strains, but not necessarily on other strains. Thus there’s no value in testing against a number of additional strains beyond the basic strains common on disinfectant labels already. If the pathogen of concern is another organism, you would look to the product label to see that the disinfectant is capable of killing that organism, even if the specific strain of interest was not tested.” — Peter Teska, Americas portfolio lead for infection prevention, Diversey, Sturtevant, Wis.
The best way to know if a disinfectant kills certain strains of the new swine flu virus, influenza A H3N2, etc. is by checking the label of the desired disinfectant, where it will specifically list which viruses it claims to kill. All products sold in stores meet current federal guidelines and must list the items in their products.
If you have additional questions about generally available products you wish for Texoma Cleaning to use, please give us a call. We are happy to discuss your needs and help you with finding a resolve to the challenges in your environment.