You will read plenty of stuff about washing your hands frequently in the press – which is probably the number one thing you can do to avoid getting and transmitting the flu.
If there is a serious outbreak, I’m thinking of giving my employees those little fabric type surgical masks that Japanese tourists wear when they go to third world countries (like Minnesota – saw a bunch of them in the airport wearing ’em the last time I picked someone up – didn’t realize this town was so dangerous.)
(Subsequent development = I just saw that H1N1 is too small for the cheapy masks pores – you have to buy the $5 mask instead of the $.50 mask to get pores small enough to catch this virus. That said, the pores are big enough to catch things like moisture particles from sneezes (in bound or out bound) that contain and spread the virus. Limiting access to the substrate that contains the virus can’t hurt, so I’m leaving the above remark in the blog.)
Beyond that tho, our “Cleaning For Health” training protocol emphasizes focusing on “touch points”
-Towel holders – those laser towel dispensers are a great infection control idea,
Additional touch points are microwave and refrigerator handles, coffee pot handles, shared phone headsets, handrails and elevator buttons.
A) As a commercial cleaner these are things we want to wipe 100% of the time – whether cosmetically necessary or not.
B) As a user you may want to use elbows, paper towels, toilet paper, etc to avoid touching with your hands. Be especially careful not to put hands to eyes, mouth, nose, etc after touching “touch points” if we do get into a serious flu epidemic. This is one situation where those desk top hand sanitizer dispensers make a lot of sense.
C) Don’t get too paranoid tho. These are “non – porous” surfaces in almost all cases. Most infectious agents can’t live real long on a non – porous surface because of the absence of moisture and / or food.
HIV dies just about instantly outside the host. E Coli a few hours or a day or so later. Flu (the title topic) can live for several days tho, and hepatitis for long periods of time.