If you’ve ever gone to work when you weren’t feeling well, you’re not alone. According to an NSF International survey, at least one-quarter (26%) of American workers admit to going to work when they are sick.

The best thing you can do to protect yourself from flu is take defensive measures during flu season. Whether you are sick or currently healthy, prevent the spread of germs and viruses by following these guidelines.

Get a Flu Vaccine

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Prevention, getting a flu vaccine is more important than ever this year, to protect yourself and the people around you and to help reduce the strain on our health care systems.

Household Cleaning and Disinfection

  • To sanitize a surface, use a store-bought disinfectant (be sure to follow the directions for sanitizing) or make a bleach solution using 5 tablespoons (1/3 cup) of bleach per gallon of water or 4 teaspoons bleach per quart of water. Allow at least one minute of contact time. Rinse thoroughly and allow to air dry.
  • For dishes, use the sanitizing cycle on your dishwasher, following the manufacturer’s directions for use.
  • For clothing and other fabrics, use a sanitizing cycle on your laundry machine and/or dryer.
  • Disinfect high-touch surfaces such as phones, doorknobs, appliance handles, cupboard doors, etc. with a sanitizer wipe containing at least 70% alcohol.

Handwashing

  • The risk of flu, COVID-19 and other viruses can be reduced by regular, proper handwashing. Use water and soap and scrub for 20 seconds. Rinse thoroughly and dry hands completely.
  • If water is not available for proper handwashing, use a sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol and rub hands until dry.

Helping Kids With Handwashing

  • NSF’s Scrub Club® has videos and activities that can help kids practice better handwashing habits. Meet the Scrub Club® heroes and villains in our latest video.

Working at Home

  • Keyboards and touch screens can be a prime area for germs to live. Wipe with a disinfectant or an alcohol wipe with at least 60% alcohol and allow to air dry.
  • Your mouse could also use a regular cleaning, whether it’s wired, wireless or the one on your laptop.

Home School and Day Care

  • Your kid’s scissors, markers and pens could all use a good cleaning. Use a disinfecting wipe or alcohol wipe with at least 60% alcohol to prevent germs from growing.
  • Teach kids to sneeze/cough into a tissue to help prevent spreading germs around the house.
  • Pay special attention to handwashing before eating and after sneezing/coughing, playing outside or touching the family pets.
  • Keep kids spaced six feet apart when eating so they don’t share drinks or utensils, or cough/sneeze on each other.