Washing your hands with soap and water, and keeping your home or building clean may be among the best ways to prevent colds, according to the book, Infection Prevention For Dummies, available free from the non-profit IEHA (formerly the International Executive Housekeepers Association). According to its author, Darrell Hicks, Past President of the IEHA and Registered Executive Housekeeper (REH): "While cleanliness may be next to godliness, it's also very closely related to disinfection. In fact, cleaning can avert the need to disinfect in some situations because clean and dry surfaces can't harbor microbial growth for very long."

Hicks continues: "The guiding principle is always to remove germs if possible rather than kill them, and then, when necessary, use the least amount of the mildest product that will do the job, because stronger often means more toxic to people."

Surprisingly, going down to the local supermarket or jan/san distributor, picking up a disinfectant and "disinfectant bombing" your home or facility may not help to solve the problem.

According to Benjamin D. Tanner, Ph.D.,President, Antimicrobial Test Laboratories: "Most disinfectants on the market kill a broad range of bacteria well, but when it comes to cold viruses it's a different story. During cold season, I encourage people to focus their surface disinfection efforts on stopping viruses. To kill these viruses, an EPA-registered disinfectant bearing a ‘kills rhinovirus' claim should be used or EPA-registered disinfectant wipes with a rhinovirus claim, or consumers can choose an antimicrobial device that has been proven to kill such viruses such as a steam vapor machine tested to EPA lab protocols. Something many consumers don't know is that the most common active ingredient in disinfectants known as a QUAT or Quaternary Ammonium Compound (QAC) often doesn't kill rhinovirus, the virus that is responsible for many colds."

According to the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), there are several ways you can keep yourself from getting a cold or passing one on to others:
• Because cold viruses on your hands can easily enter through your eyes and nose, wash your hands often and keep your hands away from those areas of your body.
• If possible, avoid being close to people who have colds.
• If you have a cold, avoid being close to people.
• When you sneeze or cough, cover your nose or mouth and sneeze or cough into your elbow rather than your hand.

The 48-page book, Infection Prevention For Dummies, has many more tips to prevent your family, staff or clients getting sick with colds and flu. To prevent colds and flu with knowledge, get your copy today. Visit the IEHA online store here.