The Water Quality and Health Council Calls for Greater Surface Disinfection to Combat Bad Hygiene During this Flu Season

Do you cough without covering your mouth while standing in the lunch line? Or sneeze loudly into the air when squeezed onto the morning bus? Nearly all Americans (96 percent) have seen you do things like this – and a shocking three quarters (77 percent) say they are guilty themselves. Even with heightened concerns during this year’s flu season, Americans admit that sleeves are a fine substitute for tissues; one in four wipes their nose on them. One in ten is even more gross; skipping sleeves altogether in favor of hands to wipe their nose and then… extending for a handshake or reaching for a door handle.

A recent survey by the Water Quality and Health Council shows that despite constant warnings from health officials and a recent study showing a 31 percent chance of infection through hand contact with contaminated surfaces, few Americans frequently clean the public surfaces they use. At the same time, not many have faith that others are cleaning them either. Regardless of this, just one in ten is inclined to do the job themselves.

Knowing that flu viruses can live on inanimate surfaces for hours or even days should motivate people to take personal responsibility to protect themselves; disinfecting surfaces when feasible, using disinfecting wipes or chlorine bleach – especially at home and at work – as well as washing hands and practicing good personal hygiene habits. Contacting school administrators, office managers and even health club managers will help you understand their cleaning and disinfecting protocol and how you can better safeguard against the flu.

To help people prevent the spread of H1N1, The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends keeping surfaces clean by wiping them down with a disinfectant according to the directions on the product label. Also, in addition to cleaning surfaces, the CDC advises a number of helpful tips. For more information on how to prevent the spread of H1N1 through surface disinfection, please visit