This is a frequently asked question. When you are cleaning surfaces it is good to know how long the virus is viable. A frequently cited study about survival of influenza viruses on environmental surface indicates that:
- Influenza A viruses survive 24-48 hours on hard, nonporous surfaces such as stainless steel and plastic, but survive for less than 8-12 hours on cloth, paper, and tissues at conditions of 35% to 49% humidity and a temperature of 28 ºC (≅ 82ºF).
- Measurable quantities of influenza virus transfer from stainless steel surfaces to hands for 24 hours and from tissues to hands for up to 15 minutes.
- The virus survives on hands for up to 5 minutes after transfer from the environmental surfaces.
Look around your office and make a plan to keep your area clean. Where should you focus your attention? The most contaminated surfaces on your desk are:
- Telephone – a good rule is to only use your phone!
- Keyboard and mouse
- Desk surface
A good way to start your day is to wipe down these surfaces with a disinfectant wipe before you start your work.
To help prevent transmission of the virus, follow these simple steps:
- Frequently touched surfaces should be disinfected with an U.S. EPA-registered bleach-based solution or disinfectant product.
- Surfaces to disinfect include bedside tables, surfaces in the bathroom, toys for children, doorknobs, light switches, telephones and refrigerator handles.
- Use disinfectant wipes for frequently touched electronic items such as computer mouse and keyboards, phones and remote controls, etc.
The Clorox company has a variety of very well written resource sheets that are in a PDF format. These information sheets cover cleaning issues in the classroom, home and workplace. Check out their website at http://www.clorox.com/healthier_lives/cold_flu/article.php?subsection=h1n1&article_id=swine_flu
B. Bean, B. Moore, et.al. Survival of Influenza Viruses on Environmental Surfaces. Journal of Infectious Diseases. V. 146(1), 47-51, July 1982. Abstract.