We’ve all seen news reports about the revolting germs that lurk on the surfaces of things we touch every day. So as flu season approaches, you might be preparing for battle, a battle against flu germs, a battle waged on doorknobs, and keyboards, and telephones, and other surfaces in your home and office.
But before you douse all your possessions with bleach, there’s one thing you should know: Experts say that you really don’t need to bother.
“Honestly, if you’re trying to prevent the flu, there’s just not evidence that spraying everything with disinfectant is going to make any difference,” says Christine Hay, MD, assistant professor at the University of Rochester Medical Center.
Why is that? “Outside of the body, the flu is a really wimpy virus,” Hays says.
Other flu experts agree. “There may be some transmission of flu through things like tabletops and doorknobs, but it plays a very minimal role,” says William Schaffner, MD, chairman of the department of preventive medicine at Vanderbilt University’s School of Medicine in Nashville.
Even so, there are still things you can do to protect yourself from influenza — and kill some flu germs in the process. Here’s what you need to know.