Wiping off germs key to stopping spread of flu

Health workers say wiping down phones and work surfaces can stop the spread of germs.
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A flu shot clinic at Franciscan Visiting Nurse Service on North Keystone was busy Wednesday afternoon.

"Because it did take a turn for the worse, a lot of people thought oh, I shouldn't have waited," said nurse Lisa Lowery. "There's a little bit of a frantic search, but there is plenty of vaccine out there."

"We tried to get it from the pediatrician, but they were out," said one mother.

But the flu mist can be hard to find. The same goes for preservative-free vaccines.

"With the outbreak and we've had some viral things at home already," said another mom getting her flu shot. "I have children in school, so I'm trying to ward off what they might bring home."

Tyrone Freeman was at the clinic with his kids.

"We usually do it every year, but this year it got away from us," Freeman said.

So he was sure to get his kids inoculated Wednesday afternoon.

The flu shot is about 60 percent effective. So to boost your chances of not catching flu, workers say disinfecting surfaces can make workplaces healthier.

"I clean the phone. Everybody uses that phone, office phone," said a worker.

"It is best to let it air dry," said VNS employee Heather Hughet. Don't dry it with a cloth towel unless it's disposable. "You don't know where that cloth has been."

Hit door handles and tabletops too, she says. And use pump bottle soap or lots of hand sanitizer. At home, don't forget TV remotes. They are real shared breeding grounds.

At Hawthorne Community Center's after-school program, no mobile devices are allowed, for lots of reasons. One is germ contamination.

Brent Pedersen says kids like to share them and "they start touching their hands, their eyes, their mouths and that would be spreading a lot of germs."

Flu virus can live up to eight hours on surfaces like cell phones.

"Keep in mind who you are sharing your phone with," says AT&T's John Weller. "So you can keep your phone clean."

He says feel free to wipe the phone's surface with disinfectant wipes.

"You just want to make sure it's wrung out so it's not dripping with cleanser. You don't want to get your phone too wet," Weller said.

Use a hands-free set, Weller says.

"You can talk on the phone without constantly putting the phone to your face," he added.

Lowery says get that flu shot - it's not too late.

Visiting Nurse Service clinic information

Where to get a flu shot in central Indiana