Protecting yourself during flu season

Posted at 3:02 PM, Jan 17, 2018

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Every part of the continental U.S. has seen widespread flu activity, causing the CDC to call the 2017-18 flu season an "epidemic."

Now, the flu is even changing the way some people do their job.

Commercial cleaning companies are being asked to work extra days to help keep offices flu-free.

The Deep Cleaners in Overland Park, Kansas, is one commercial cleaning company that's fighting the flu virus one spray at a time.

Their crews are paying special attention to highly-touched areas such as door handles, chairs and even copiers. 

"We always clean surfaces such as keyboards, desk surfaces, even chair handles because those are places where if someone sneezes, and they put their hands on the chairs – that’s going to spread the flu," Andrea Palmer, owner of The Deep Cleaners, said.

According to the University of Kansas Hospital, some strains of the flu virus can survive on a hard surface for up to 24 hours.

So, if you work around other people, health officials encourage you to wipe down your workspace at the beginning and end of your shift.

"We want to think about the high-touch areas. Places like the telephone or the computer keyboard," Tiffany Horsely with the University of Kansas Hospital said.

In addition to wiping and disinfecting, it's a good idea to know a product's "dwell time" to ensure that it’s working.

"Your Lysol, for example, has a 10-minute dwell time. So, really what that means is for it to have that true 99 percent efficacy, you really have to spray it, allow it to sit there and have maximum exposure, versus spraying and immediately wiping down," Robert Lawrence, regional director for Jani-King, said.

Lawrence said people to should know the product's dwell time, be sure not to cross contaminate when cleaning multiple surfaces and make sure they’re using a product that disinfects – not just cleans away dirt.

"There's a difference between cleaning and disinfecting. Make sure you're using a disinfectant," Lawrence said.

Lawrence said people should use these good cleaning habits both at work and at home to fight the flu.