The flu season is upon us – again – and according to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), “This year’s flu season may be especially severe“. According to the CDC, “This is the first year we had the entire continental U.S. be the same color on the graph. Meaning there’s widespread activity in all of the continental U.S. at this point”. An influenza strain known as H3N2 is the most prevalent this year and the vaccine developed to protect us is “about 30% effective”, the CDC says. For most people, getting the flu is uncomfortable, but little more. Some people however, including those with underlying health conditions, are more vulnerable. The most vulnerable are the elderly, children younger than five (and especially younger than two) as well as residents of nursing homes and longer care facilities. If you are concerned, and want to protect your family against the spread of the flu, here are some precautions you can take to keep your family safe.
1) Get a Vaccination
With only a 30% effectiveness rate, you may think, why bother? But some protection is better than none. And if you do get the flu after getting the vaccination, it is likely that your bout with the flu will be much milder than someone who didn’t get vaccinated at all. This is especially important if you are a member of one of the most vulnerable groups.
There could still be up to 13 weeks of flu season remaining. Be aware that there is often a rise in the prevalence of the ‘B’ strain of influenza later in the season. Getting vaccinated may help protect your family.
2) WASH YOUR HANDS FREQUENTLY!
This is probably the single most important thing you can do. The reason is that we are constantly touching the same places: door knobs, keyboards, money, steering wheel and so on.
You can use SNiPER to wash your hands – it is perfectly safe. Just spray your hand, then ‘air-wash’ them to help spread the spray effectively on both hands. Hold them up to air dry for 1 minute.
If you have the flu:
a) Don’t go to work (or school). You will potentially spread it to others! Stay home for 24 hours after the fever subsides.
b) If you can see a doctor within the first 48 hours, you may be able to take antiviral meds to shorten the length of time you are sick and reduce it’s severity.
c) Cover your mouth and sneeze into a tissue or handkerchief – not into the air!
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3) How can I keep the rest of the family safe if one member gets the flu?
Spray ‘high contact’ areas with SNiPER Hospital Disinfectant. The CDC tells us that “Most people are at peak contagiousness in the three or four days after becoming sick, but you may be able to infect others from a day before to seven days after developing symptoms“. Spraying high contact touch surfaces will reduce the likelihood of spreading contagions. High contact areas could include doorknobs, push plates on swinging doors, light switches, handles, even money! Take a small 4oz bottle of SNiPER to the gym and spray the equipment you use.
Replace your air filters. If they don’t need replacing just yet, spray them with SNiPER to kill trapped germs.
If you have a ‘fogger’ use it to treat many surfaces (and the air) efficiently. See https://blog.nokout.com/to-fog-or-not-to-fog/. If you don’t have a fogger, you may be able to use a common household Vaporizer to treat a room. See https://www.nokout.com/Vaporizer-How-to-use.html. Treating rooms or your home in this way can reduce exposure to other family members, so this makes perfect sense.
4) Use that Humidifier
Recent studies show that it is not so much the cold weather that helps spread the flu, but the relative humidity. According to one expert, “We don’t have the airtight evidence that a humidifier reduces your chance of getting sick, but we know that dryness is bad for you. Low relative humidity can dry out your nasal passages, making you more vulnerable to the flu virus and other bugs.” The ‘sweet spot’ appears to be a relative humidity range of 40% to 60% for overall health. See: https://blog.nokout.com/safe-humidifier-use-eases-the-pain-caused-by-dry-air/
SNiPER is a great tool in your toolbox to fight the influenza virus, and protect your family, because, while there are many disinfectants capable of killing germs, most other disinfectants are highly corrosive, or highly toxic or just plain dangerous. SNiPER has the lowest toxicity rating that the EPA gives in ALL FOUR Categories: inhalation, ingestion, to skin, and to eyes, so it is safe for you, your family and your pets also.
The cold dry air of Winter is a real pain – dry eyes, dry itchy skin, dried-out mucosal membranes in the nose and throat, and so on. When suffering from this ‘winter condition’ many people turn to the use of room humidifiers or vaporizers for relief, and this is a great idea! Safe humidifier use eases the pain caused by the cold air of winter because breathing moist air can soothe the respiratory tract and ease congestion and coughing. But too much moisture can be a negative rather than a positive.
Humidifier as Biological ‘Farm’
Many molds and fungi infestations can exist and perhaps thrive, on humidity they pull from the air. Excessive humidity can also increase growth rates for dust mites, contributing to allergic reactions. And since humidifiers and vaporizers are wet for long periods of time, they can become a little ‘farm’ for the growth of biologicals such molds, mildews, fungi and so on. When a humidifier is allowed to operate as a ‘mold farm’ they can spread spores and other biological elements around a room. Yuck! So let’s look at how to use a humidifier safely.
The key – as with so many things in life – is balance. We need to find the ‘Goldilocks zone’ that is not too humid, and not too dry. Not too humid to prevent runaway growth of biologicals and not too dry to provide relief from that itchy feeling.
Hitting the Goldilocks Zone
A ‘hygrometer’ is a nice little tool to accurately measure the relative humidity. They are available starting at $4 or so (for a cheapie) that might last you through the winter. Between 45 and 55 percent relative humidity will be enough to feel comfortable but not so much as to allow biological growths we prefer to inhibit.
Humidifier / vaporizer maintenance becomes a safety issue if you start using one regularly. Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations carefully! If your water has a high mineral content, calcification can build up on furniture, walls or other areas in a room. Use distilled or de-mineralized water to minimize any buildup. Change the internal filters regularly.
As a further deterrent, you can add a bit of SNiPER disinfectant to the reservoir to prevent growth of mold inside your unit. Periodically, add four ounces to a quart of water in your machine. This will be sufficient to keep your machine clean and free of biological growths.
With good cleaning and maintenance, a humidifier or vaporizer can provide comfort and health benefits during the months of cold dry air. Be safe! Keep that machine clean and safe, and it will keep you more comfortable and healthier.
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There is a great way to treat a room for odors, where you don’t know the exact source. Learn more here: https://www.nokout.com/Vaporizer-How-to-use.html
As part of your normal weekly cleaning, remember that humid air will often condense near windows. Spray a bit of SNiPER there every week to prevent the growth of mold in the little puddles of condensate near those windows.
Living the mold-free life is good for you, good for your family and good for anyone who visits your home.
Now that all the waterlogged homes from Harvey and Irma are drying, there is a real need for products that can kill mold, mildew, and fungus infestations and the spores that accompany all this wetness. But so many of the disinfectants out there are highly toxic and are a real danger to your health. What to do? Why choose SNiPER?
There are 6 great reasons why choosing SNiPER is a good decision for you and your family.
- High degree of efficacy. Many cleansers can kill mold, but not that many can also kill the spores. SNiPER kills the spores too!
- Very low toxicity. The EPA rates all disinfectants and assigns them a score in each of 4 categories of toxicity: Toxic to skin, toxic to eyes, toxicity if inhaled and toxicity if ingested (eaten or drank). SNiPER receives the lowest toxicity rating that the EPA hands out in ALL FOUR categories. You can apply SNiPER without needing to wear gear to protect you from the disinfectant.
- Non-corrosive product. Because of its non-corrosive nature, you can put SNiPER into your favorite fogger to make application a breeze! Quick and easy application is the third big reason to use SNiPER for any kind of disinfection. It also means you can apply SNiPER and walk away – you don’t need to come back later and wipe toxic residues away.
- Ease of application. SNiPER can be applied using a hand pump sprayer, a pump-up garden style sprayer, a fogger (either ULV or electrostatic). You will not need to wear special gear to apply this product.
- Hypo-allergenic. SNiPER is unlikely to trigger any allergic response from people suffering from asthma or other allergies.
- Many odors are associated with mold, mildew and the like. SNiPER will eliminate odors at the same time it disinfects.
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SNiPER is a Proven Solution for your Disinfection needs
Taken together, it is easy to see why SNiPER is considered to be among the top products to use against biological infestations resulting from prolonged wetness. It is strong enough to stop these biological problems dead in their tracks, but it does not contribute to a toxic household. In our formulation, SNiPER can kill the mold and the spores safely, without endangering your home with toxic cleansers. You can breathe easy!
How to Use SNiPER to Kill Mold
Disaster! Your home has been flooded! Two feet deep. And all that water came with a LOT of mud and muck that has started to stink. What to do? How can SNiPER or Nok-Out help with flood recovery? Restoring a home that has been flooded is an immense amount of work that is complicated by the sludge left behind because that sludge is likely to have everything from toxic chemicals to overflow from sewage ponds in it. Given that you must dry everything within 48 hours to stop the growth of mold, mildew and fungal infestations, you have a powerful need for a disinfecting odor eliminator to help you restore your home, your car, your offices. This is a perfect use for SNiPER, because with this one product, you can both disinfect and deodorize as part of flood recovery.
You need to disinfect not only for the nasty pathogens that may come from the sewage ponds, but also because natures little recyclers (mold, mildew, fungus) will begin growing within 48 hours if you cannot dry it out. Some – not all! – but some of those molds are actually quite toxic and you really don’t want that stuff adding to the problems.
Many stinks in the world are of biological origin. A good example is sweat. Our perspiration is not smelly, until bacteria living in our skin start eating it. Their excrement is what stinks – not your feet! So killing or holding down the growth of biologicals can help keep horrible odors at bay. As both a disinfectant and odor eliminator, SNiPER is perfect for flood relief, and home restoration.
How can SNiPER help my flooded home?
After you have pumped out the water, after the carpet and the upholstered furniture has all been thrown out to the curb, after the baseboards have been removed and holes poked in the drywall to allow trapped water to escape, it may well still be damp. But you can already begin spraying SNiPER even if it IS still a bit damp. Lightly spraying those damp areas that have stayed wet for 48 hours will slow the growth of biologicals and is an important part of flood recovery. It will not prevent the growth, but it can slow it down until your home has dried out further. The only thing that will stop the growth is for the area to be dry and SNiPER can retard growth enough to help prevent the entire structure being eaten by mold.
If mold has already started growing visibly, spray directly on it. (Be safe! Wear an N-95 mask, gloves and eye protection. If you start feeling ill or woozy, stop, go outside and breathe fresh air, before deciding if you can continue.) Use a soft scrub pad from the kitchen and try to scrub the crud loose, wipe it away, spray one more time and then you can walk away, leaving it to air dry naturally. If possible, use a ‘fogger’ for maximum efficiency in spraying. See below for links to many of our ‘how-to‘ articles on controlling mold.
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Why can’t I just use bleach?
Bleach doesn’t kill mold. Let me say this one more time – bleach does not kill mold. It will weaken the growth and it will make it change color, but bleach does not kill mold or the spores. SNiPER kills both – safely.
What about my furniture?
That overstuffed sofa that you like so much is likely to take several days to dry in the best of conditions. It is highly likely that mold will begin growing deep inside the stuffing where you cannot see it. Given the difficulty of drying and then removing the odor from that sludge, it is unlikely that sofa will ever be usable again. It is possible that you could clean it up, but given the demands on your time and the difficulty associated with cleaning it up, you will have to decide if it is worth trying to save it. It will certainly be a long row to hoe if you want to save it!
What about clothing? Can SNiPER save my clothes?
Yes – SNiPER or Nok-Out can be added to loads of laundry and if there is visible mold present, SNiPER will kill it. See https://www.nokout.com/Laundry-Odors.html for instructions.
“My home is mostly dry, but still damp in some places. I know mold is growing because I can smell it. Should I worry about the spores in the air?”
Yes – you should worry! Breathing in mold spores is not a good idea. Spraying the air with SNiPER will kill the spores. A professional would use a fogger to spray the air, because this machine can create droplet sizes that are small enough to float around on the breeze. Wonderful machines, but expensive. A slower alternative is to use a common household vaporizer or a room humidifier. These can do the same thing but are very slow. We have a good article for you here.
I have a 2500 ft2 house. How much SNiPER do I need?
A very good question. And, one that is not easy to answer because it depends on so many things, such as ‘how much do you spray’?, ‘should I spray more here’? ‘am I spraying enough? or not enough’? and so on. We think that you will need around 1.5 gallons to make it around the house once spraying economically. But you may find that you need more than that.
In general, spray enough that the area becomes wet, but not so much that it runs down the wall as if you had sprayed too much paint. Do not wipe it away, instead, allow it to air dry. SNiPER is non-corrosive and will not damage the sprayed surfaces.
A very important consideration is the bacteria that come up out of sewers during a ‘big flooding’ event. Wherever that nasty water went – it carried those bacteria with it. These bacteria can easily pass to you if you touch something wet and then later, touch your mouth. Stop this mode of transmission by spraying interior surfaces with SNiPER.
Wear the mask (N-95) to avoid the possibility of breathing in spores and other muck. If you begin to feel ill – stop! Go outside and recover. Consider hiring a pro to do this for you. Here are symptoms to watch out for:
- rashes or hives
- eye irritation
- nasal passage/sinus congestion or irritation
- difficulty breathing
Keep children away from standing water and mud, which is often contaminated with toxic chemicals and sewage. Pay attention to dangerous debris such as boards with protruding nails. Unplug all electronics and electrical devices. Make sure that gas is shut off. Avoid drinking tap water until you are sure it is drinkable again.
Some of our ‘How-to’ mold articles
Issues related to odor and bacteria in baby diapers
Diaper Pail first:
Horrible smells drift lazily around the bathroom or nursery. Smells that gag, cause men to faint, and make a person wonder if a baby was such a good idea after all. The Diaper Pail reeks of old stale urine and poop.
Wait! Maybe you don’t know about SNiPER. I’ll explain that later, but for now, let’s just examine how to stop that smell every time it happens!
Some simple remedies are just common sense. Your retching makes you forget them. Let’s be calm and keep going.
You don’t need any fancy contraptions to have a clean diaper pail.
Try to limit the number of dirty diapers that accumulate in the pail. This may mean more trips to the garbage can outside, but it does keep that nasty-smelling air from leaking into the baby’s nursery.
Another good tip. Always spray SNiPER into the empty pail. Spray SNiPER into the plastic bag insert. Keep the lid open to allow SNiPER to dry a bit. (It is during the drying process that SNiPER does it’s job.)
Regular air fresheners only mask poop odor. They really don’t have a long life span, even at that. The SNiPER formula is long lasting because it removes the odor completely (until another dirty diaper is dumped in the pail!)
Spray SNiPER in the pail both before and after tossing the dirty diaper.
Wash or spray SNiPER in the diaper pail often-at least once a day. This simple act cuts out much of the bacteria in the pail and in the air and helps keep the home more sanitary.
Both chlorine bleach and ammonia are sometimes used for this detail. Chlorine bleach is not at all safe in the nursery-anywhere. The fumes can be a powerful irritant to a baby’s sensitive skin and lungs. Ammonia is useful sometimes as well, but ammonia doesn’t have any antibacterial properties and is not safe for tender skin. Nor are the chemical air fresheners we tend to use. Particularly in a nursery, added chemicals in the air are a problem. A baby’s sensitive and brand-new lungs do not need harsh chemicals. Just fresh, clean and odor-free air. SNiPER, on the other hand, releases no unwanted or unsafe cleaning byproducts which may cause harm.
Keep a clean plastic bag in your Diaper bag. You can also spray in inside the plastic bag before use. Allow it to dry. On your return to home, Dispose the bag and its contents. Some moms will shake the contents of the plastic bag in the toilet, and then dispose the plastic bag properly. Spray the interior of your diaper bag with SNiPER, and let dry before the next use.
Other Baby Issues:
Of course, after each diaper change, baby’s bottom must be washed. Use SNiPER to ensure that the baby’s bottom is clean and safe from bacteria collecting there. SNiPER is proven to be harmless by independent lab analyses. This link: https://www.nokout.com/MSDS-SNiPER.html, supplies you with the assurance that no dermal issues exist when used as directed. Dip a clean cloth in SNiPER, squeeze excess moisture, and gently wash the affected area. You can warm the cloth, then spray it with SNiPER.
Does anyone still use cloth diapers? These diapers really save lots of money! Research indicates that even if you use a diaper service, cloth diapers save as much as $2000.00 over disposables. Cloth diapers are also known to keep down diaper rashes. However, a combination of cloth and disposables makes a lot of sense. Disposable on-the-go, and cloth for every day economy and regular use. One of the ‘cons’ regarding cloth diapers are they are messy to clean. You WILL be doing laundry more often.
Babies and diapers become a personal issue for moms. Time, money, ease of use, and safest for the baby are primary questions for the new, or experienced Mom. Remember SNiPER. Your best friend in the nursery and beyond!
The NY Times has an interesting article written by a doctor who claims, “I’m a doctor. If I drop food on the kitchen floor, I still eat it”.
He goes on to talk about studies (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16134485) that have been done on how ‘germy’ (my word – not his!) are various places around the home and office. They sampled many locations around the house and came up with measures of how ‘germy’ those surfaces really are, before any cleaning or disinfecting has taken place. Some of the results may surprise you!
The kitchen floor was found to have 2.75 colonies per square inch (of coliform bacteria). The refrigerator handle had 5.37 colonies and the kitchen counter had 5.57 colonies. He goes on to the bathroom where the toilet seat that we all think of as being so easily contaminated, only had 0.68 colonies! But the flush handle for that toilet had 34.65 colonies!
That is a great illustration of what are known as ‘high-touch areas’ – places where many hands touch regularly. These high-touch areas then, are places where our fight against harmful germs can make a difference. The refrigerator handle, the flush, lever, are fairly obvious places, but what about other high touch surfaces – such as your phone! “One study, for instance, found that about 95 percent of mobile phones carried by health care workers were contaminated with nosocomial bacteria. Of those contaminated with staph aureus, more than half were contaminated with methicillin resistant bacteria (MRSA).”
How about the money in your wallet or purse? Many studies have pointed out just how germy money is, but how often have you seen someone pay cash for a sandwich and then eat that sandwich immediately?
The ‘germiest’ thing around your home is most likely – the sponge in your kitchen sink, which was found to have around 20 million colonies per square inch!
There are so many things we touch every day – atm machine, keyboards, light switches, steering wheels, and so on. We have been touching those places day-in and day-out for all out lives and are still here to tell about it, so really, it can’t be that bad. But if you are concerned about it, then there is something you can do.
Use SNiPER to disinfect or sanitize. Generally speaking, sanitizing is referred to as killing about 99.9% of bacteria (not including virus) on some hard surface within 30 seconds; typically, food preparation surfaces are sanitized. Disinfection destroys multiple organisms including bacteria and some viruses. ‘Disinfectants’ are regulated by the US E.P.A. To be allowed this designation, you must demonstrate that the product kills 99.999% of selected microbes in 5 – 10 minutes.
SNiPER meets the disinfect standard when used full strength and allowed to dwell on the surface for the full 5-10 minutes. You can meet the ‘sanitize’ standard when you dilute SNiPER by 6:1 (Water: SNiPER). Typically for sanitizing, you can simply spray and walk away, allowing it to air dry.
We have instructions for how to sanitize your phone here, http://blog.nokout.com/clean-the-germs-from-your-devices-safely-with-sniper/. We also have articles for how to clean and disinfect your fridge here: https://www.nokout.com/Clean-and-Disinfect-your-Rerigerator.html, disinfect your kitchen https://www.nokout.com/Kitchen-Clean-Up-and-Disinfection-with-Nok-Out.html your microwave https://www.nokout.com/Clean-and-Disinfect-your-Microwave.html and your bathroom here: https://www.nokout.com/Remove-Bathroom-Odor-and-Disinfect-too.html.
If you have survived until adulthood, you have done so despite coming into direct contact with germs passed via the ‘high-touch’ areas, so in all probability, you are tough, with a strong immune system that protects you. But at certain times of the year, concern that illness-causing germs get passed from person to person increase. If it is being a difficult flu season, then perhaps an easy and effective way to limit the spread of pathogens is to treat the high touch areas with a good disinfecting product. (If you are worried about what may be on your hands, spray them down with SNiPER, and allow them to air dry.) SNiPER is the perfect solution. With it’s very low toxicity, its high efficacy and ease of application, SNiPER can help reduce the likelihood that some nasty pathogen comes into your home. Buy some today, because if you need it, you’ll be glad you have it!
If you have any questions, call Ted at 866 551 1927.