Flu Prevention Tips
As if one virus isn’t enough, flu season is here with a vengeance this year! With our COVID-19 bootcamp training, you’re probably already doing a lot of things right, but there are some differences between influenza and the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 to keep in mind. While the infection that can result from the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 can be serious, anyone who has suffered from Influenza A knows it’s no picnic either. From disinfecting to reducing stress, here are our top tips for keeping your family safer during flu season this year.
Top Tips For Flu Prevention During COVID-19
Here are some flu prevention tips to keep in mind as we enter flu season this year.
1. Use An EPA-Registered Disinfectant
A product that uses the term disinfectant means that it has passed the Environmental Protection Agency’s testing and guidelines, which includes their evaluation of pathogen-kill data and assessment of risks and benefits of a product’s use. This means that, to be labeled a sanitizer or disinfectant, the product has to demonstrate that it can kill the germs and viruses it says it does in a set amount of time.
One way to ensure you’re disinfecting effectively is to select a product from the EPA’s List N, which lists the disinfectants that are approved for use against the novel coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2.
Our product, Force of Nature, is an EPA-registered sanitizer and hospital-grade disinfectant approved for use against COVID-19. It also kills 99.9% of viruses & bacteria and kills respiratory viruses and the viruses that cause flus. It’s a great way to disinfect your home during flu season without exposing your family to the harmful chemicals that are common in typical cleaning products. It’s free from toxic chemicals and fumes so it doesn’t require that extra rinsing step like bleach or quat-based disinfectants.
2. Know The Difference Between Cleaning, Sanitizing And Disinfecting.
They may all sound the same, but there is actually a big difference between cleaning, disinfecting and sanitizing, and the important term to look for is “disinfecting”. We break down the distinction thoroughly in this blog post. The bottom line is that each of these practices helps to reduce germs to various degrees on a surface and can be used for different applications. Both cleaning and sanitizing reduce germ count, but disinfecting reduces it to the 99.9% level. For germs like Influenza, respiratory viruses, and SARS-CoV-2, you’ll want to clean and then disinfect, not just sanitize.
3. Use Your Disinfectant As Directed.
The EPA tests products using a very specific process and “dwell time,” which is the amount of time (usually 10 minutes) that the product takes to kill 99.9% of a specific set of germs. It doesn’t mean it takes 10 minutes to kill every pathogen, just that at the end of 10 minutes, 99.9% of the full range of germs tested are dead. Because of this, it’s important to follow instructions and ensure that the disinfectant is getting sufficient time for it to kill all those bugs you want to kill, like flu germs.
As an EPA registered hospital-grade disinfectant, Force of Nature proved in EPA testing that it kills 99.9% of germs, even Influenza A, Staph, MRSA, Norovirus, Salmonella, Listeria and Pseudomonas when used as directed. Fun fact: The EPA registers 3 types of disinfectants based on their pathogen-killing efficacy: Limited, Broad-Spectrum, and Hospital. Limited disinfectants are effective against only a specific major group of microorganisms (such as gram-positive or gram-negative bacteria). Broad-spectrum disinfectants are effective against both gram-positive and gram-negative bacteria. Hospital disinfectants are broad-spectrum disinfectants that are also effective against the nosocomial bacterial pathogen Pseudomonas aeruginosa. There, now you’ve been to disinfectant training bootcamp too!
4. Disinfect Safely!
One way to keep our immune systems in gear is not to exacerbate existing conditions like allergies and asthma by using cleaning products that contain irritating chemicals. When you’re cleaning and disinfecting to prevent the flu, remember that just because a disinfectant is labeled 99.9% effective, doesn’t mean it is safe. Many conventional disinfectant and cleaning products contain chemicals that are dangerous to spray in places where your children and pets could come into contact with it, or where it can interact with your skin or airways. With Force of Nature, you don’t need to wear gloves or a face mask, because it utilizes a toxic chemical-free antimicrobial called hypochlorous acid (HOCl) which is so gentle that it can be used without rinsing.
When using bleach or quaternary ammonium compounds for flu prevention, you should always wear protective gear and rinse off surfaces after applying the product. And in case you’re wondering, bleach and quaternary ammonium compounds are by far the most common ingredients used in disinfectants.
5. Prioritize High-Touch Areas
To prevent the spread of germs, disinfect high-touch areas like doorknobs, fridge handles, remote controls, gadgets and kitchen and bathroom surfaces and handles frequently.
We’ve got kitchen and bathroom guides here, as well as a guide on safely disinfecting at home to help you strategize your cleaning with an eye to flu prevention!
6. Avoid Close Contact With Others
Social distancing comes in handy for avoiding contracting the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, but also for flu prevention. Keeping a distance from others when you or they are sick can help to keep you from exposure to the germs that cause the flu.
This year, more than ever, it’s important to stay home if you suspect you’re sick to help prevent exposing others.
7. Teach Kids How to Thoroughly Wash Their Hands
Kids love to do a quick splash of water and get back to the fun they were having. But teaching them to REALLY wash their hands can make a big difference because this simple practice is one of the most effective ways to reduce the spread of sickness-causing germs. This flu season, make sure you’re showing them how to handwash effectively to help keep themselves, your whole family, and others safe from the flu. The CDC’s SNAP toolkit has a lot of great information, with the goal of reducing school absenteeism by promoting clean hands. How cool is that?
8. Reduce Stress
Physical health isn’t the only thing that matters, and in times like these, it’s more important than ever to manage our stress and anxiety to keep our immune systems healthy. Flu season can add a whole new layer of stress to family life, with missed school days wrecking the fragile balance between work productivity and parenting! Reducing stress can boost your immune system to augment the immune response, which can help you prevent the flu as well as fight symptoms and recover quickly if you do become sick.
Meditation, yoga and gratitude journals are great places to start when figuring out how to reduce stress in your life.
9. Make Time For Healthy Habits
Harvard Health suggests thinking about your immune system as just that – a system with multiple components that need to exist in harmony and balance with each other. They suggest working towards as many healthy-living strategies as possible, including: not smoking, eating a diet high in fruits and vegetables, exercising regularly, drinking in moderation and getting adequate sleep.
However you choose to go about it, incorporating activities that bring you joy and time spent being mindful can help keep you healthy and are an important part of flu prevention.
We’re here to help you.
Whether it’s COVID-19, respiratory viruses or the seasonal flu, we’re here to help you with tons of information and tips and tricks for disinfecting your home with Force of Nature. Happily, our product is a super-effective germ killer that kills 99.9% of viruses and bacteria, but is free from toxic chemicals, fumes and residues to rinse. It kills respiratory viruses and the viruses that cause flus too. How? Our mighty little appliance allows you to make our multi-purpose cleaner and EPA registered sanitizer and disinfectant on your countertop from electricity, salt, water & vinegar. Learn more about Force of Nature, here.