November 2020

NSF International Public Health Tip: Be a “Flu Fighter” at Home With These Germ-Busting Tips

Public health organization NSF International can help you and your family be “flu fighters” this fall, with powerful tips to help stop the spread of the flu and other viruses.
Handwashing

Like sweaters, autumn leaves and pumpkin spice lattes, the flu comes back every fall, but the 2020 flu season is unique. During the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s especially important to take steps to help prevent the spread of the flu. NSF International is offering tips to help you and your family become powerful “flu fighters” this year.

“According to the Centers for Disease Control 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 during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said NSF International Senior Certification Project Manager and germ expert Lisa Yakas. “Good health habits like avoiding people who are sick, covering your cough and frequently washing your hands can help stop the spread of germs and prevent illnesses like the flu. But there are many housekeeping tactics you can use to help stop the spread of flu and other viruses.”

Household Cleaning and Disinfection

  • To sanitize a surface, use a store-bought disinfectant (be sure to follow their directions for sanitizing) or make a bleach solution using five tablespoons (1/3 cup) bleach per gallon of water or four 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 - follow the manufacturer’s direction 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, then 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, activities and games 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 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, after sneezing/coughing, playing outside or touching the family pets.
  • Keep kids spaced six feet apart when eating so they don’t share drinks, utensils or cough/sneeze on each other.

NSF International is a global public health organization, with more than 75 years of experience protecting the water we drink, the food we eat, the air we breathe and the environment we share. The tips above are also available on NSF's Flu Fighter page. Consumers can call +1 800 673 810 or email info@nsf.org to learn more.