Who and what is at risk?
- 5% to 20% of the population gets the flu each year
- Most surfaces exposed to the virus, like from an infected patient, can carry it
Clean, disinfect or sanitize?
These terms are often used interchangeably, however:
- Cleaning physically removes germs, dirt and impurities using soap (or detergent) and water
- Disinfecting uses chemicals to kill germs
- Sanitizing lowers the number of germs to a safe level by either cleaning OR disinfecting surfaces or objects to lower the risk of spreading infection
What do facilities need to know?
- 48 hours: How long the flu can live on a surface and infect a person
- Work with infection prevention personnel to develop protocols before the flu season
- Internal protocols should guide the cleaning/disinfecting/sanitizing process
- Wash hands often with soap and water
- Hand sanitizers do not take the place of soap and water
How often should facilities wipe down and clean surfaces?
- Waiting rooms, exam rooms and equipment after an infected patient
- Daily sanitize surfaces and high-touch objects like doorknobs, computer keyboards and furniture
- Daily disinfect common areas such as bathrooms
- Immediately clean visibly soiled surfaces and objects using gloves and standard precautions
- Immediately remove any bodily fluids, then clean and disinfect the surface
What common cleaning mistakes allow the flu to spread?
- Following recommended guidelines
- Having a protocol or not following it
- Using the proper techniques or chemicals
- Washing hands
- Receiving the flu vaccine
What to buy from a group purchasing organization (GPO)
- To kill germs: EPA-registered disinfectants
- To kill the flu virus, products with:
o Hydrogen peroxide
o Iodine-based antiseptics