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Fight the Spread of Cold and Flu With These Prevention Tips

Cold and flu season is coming. Learn how to prevent a cold and take influenza precautions so you don't have to experience those nasty cold and flu symptoms.

More from Clorox experts

Will you be prepared for the next cold and flu season? Around 8% of the U.S. population gets sick from flu each season,1 and the emergence of COVID-19 and its variants have elevated the urgency to prevent the spread of illness-causing germs. 

The first thing you should understand is that viruses can spread directly from person to person, or indirectly via surfaces. Here are some flu facts compiled by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:2 

You can be contagious without feeling sick.

Some otherwise healthy adults may be able to infect others beginning 1 day before symptoms develop and up to 5 to 7 days after becoming sick.

Viruses can survive on hard surfaces.

People can get the flu by touching a surface or object that has flu virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose or possibly their eyes.

The health complications can be severe.

Complications of flu can include bacterial pneumonia, ear infections, sinus infections and worsening of chronic medical conditions, such as congestive heart failure, asthma, or diabetes.

Luckily, there are a few simple things you can do to help prevent the spread of viruses and minimize the impact of illness-causing germs on you and your family. 

Smart ways to outsmart germs

Maintain your immune system.

You’ve heard this before, but proper diet, hydration, exercise and sleep are all key to maintaining good health. Just remember, a strong immune system doesn’t prevent you from getting sick or passing a virus on to others.

Get vaccinated

According to the CDC, a flu shot is the most effective way to help prevent spread of the flu virus. Talk to your doctor, or find a local vaccination center here. For COVID-19 related vaccine information, visit Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Develop good hygiene habits.

As always, you should practice good hygiene, but you can also adopt new habits to help prevent the spread of germs:

  • Wash your hands. You should wash frequently with water and soap for at least 20 seconds.
  • Avoid touching your face. Try not to touch your eyes, mouth or nose with unwashed hands.
  • Cough into your elbow. Be sure to teach your kids this healthy habit to avoid germy hands.

Disinfect high-touch surfaces.

It’s important to know how to disinfect common high-touch surfaces and items. For nonporous, high-touch objects like handrails, doorknobs, light switches and remote controls, we recommend Clorox® Disinfecting Wipes. They kill 99.9% of viruses* and bacteria, and are EPA-registered to kill SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.

Learn the difference between cleaning, disinfecting and sanitizing, and why it matters.

Related products

Follow health guidelines.

Health guidelines can help us all to prevent the spread of dangerous germs, including the virus that causes COVID-19. Always avoid close contact with people who are sick, and observe CDC recommendations for mask usage and social distancing, as well as local guidelines when you’re out in public.

Disinfect after an illness.

If someone in your household has just recovered from an illness like the flu, it’s a good idea to disinfect surfaces and objects they may have touched. Here’s a comprehensive guide to disinfecting your home after the flu

  • *

    Human Coronavirus, Influenza A2 Virus

  • Kills SARS-CoV-2 on hard, nonporous surfaces. Use as directed.

  • 1.

    Source: Clinical Infectious Diseases, Volume 66, Issue 10, 15 May 2018

  • 2.

    Source: Key Facts about Influenza (Flu). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 26 Aug. 2021, https://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/keyfacts.htm