FORT GIBSON - Flu season is here, and according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, influenza activity often begins to increase in October, peaks between December and February, and can linger into May. Residential deep-cleaning service professionals in the area can help alleviate the problem.

At a time when COVID-19 is still the dominant infectious disease concern, cleaning and bioremediation specialist Carl Kelley of Servpro of Muskogee/McIntosh Counties & Tahlequah reminded local residents it is important this time of year to take steps to protect themselves and their families from influenza and other seasonal viral infections like Respiratory Syncytial Virus, which can be especially serious for children and older adults.

Breathing in virus-laden droplets from an infected person's cough, sneeze, or speech from as far away as 6 feet is believed to be the prime means of virus transmission. Experts agree it is possible to become infected by touching a contaminated surface or object and then touching your mouth, nose, or even eyes. The good news, said Kelley, is that many viruses - including the flu, COVID, and RSV viruses - are easy to kill outside the body using soap and warm water, commercial disinfectants, and hand sanitizers that contain alcohol.

"You can't do much to control the cleanliness of public places, but you can take steps to protect yourself from the consequences of any exposure," said Kelley. "At home or in the office, remember to pay special attention to 'high-touch' surfaces. Doorknobs, faucets, countertops, appliance handles and knobs, the steering wheel of your car, your phone - these are examples of surfaces that you should get in the habit of wiping down at least daily with a disinfectant designed to kill viruses."

Kelley said personal accountability is the single most important factor in controlling the spread of viral infections, including the seasonal flu. Stay home if you are sick and follow suggested guidelines. The CDC offers additional "stay healthy" tips: https://www.cdc.gov/flu/prevent/actions-prevent-flu.htm.

In addition to disaster recovery and remediation services, Servpro professionals and others like them can provide residential deep cleaning services, including air duct and HVAC cleaning, carpet and upholstery cleaning, and odor removal.

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