Health officials advise disinfecting spaces amid flu outbreak

Posted: Updated:
EDISON -

It may seem like common sense, but health officials are warning everyone to wipe down any surface that they touch in order to prevent the spread of illnesses.

The United States is currently in the midst of an unprecedented flu outbreak. Nearly 3,200 people have caught the flu in New Jersey alone.

Health officials say that commonly used surfaces like water faucet and refrigerator handles and keyboards and phones should be wiped down with disinfectant to remove germs.

RELATED: Worst flu outbreak in years hits New Jersey

People should also wash their hands with hot, soapy water for about 20 seconds. Dr. Patricia Whitley-Williams of Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School has a tip on how to know when you've washed your hands long enough.

"It usually takes about 15 to 20 seconds to sing…the ‘Happy Birthday’ song. So if you if you sing it while you're washing your hands then, by the time you end it should be about 20 seconds,” she says.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that the H3N2 influenza strain is strong this year. The flu vaccine is only about 40 percent effective against this strain.

Health officials say that Bergen, Monmouth and Ocean counties have been the hardest hit by the outbreak in New Jersey.

Flu season can last until May.

  • Health officials advise disinfecting spaces amid flu outbreakMore>>

  • Worst flu outbreak in years hits New Jersey

    Worst flu outbreak in years hits New Jersey

    Wednesday, January 17 2018 1:56 PM EST2018-01-17 18:56:12 GMT
    Worst flu outbreak in years hits New JerseyWorst flu outbreak in years hits New Jersey

    Many New Jersey residents are dealing with the worst flu outbreak to hit the Garden State in years.

    Many New Jersey residents are dealing with the worst flu outbreak to hit the Garden State in years.

  • New Jersey SlideshowsSlideshowsMore>>

  • Behind the Scenes of Disney On Ice

    Behind the Scenes of Disney On Ice

    Behind the Scenes: Disney on IceBehind the Scenes: Disney on Ice

    Take a sneak peak behind the scenes of Disney on Ice! The show made a stop at the Nassau Coliseum.

    Take a sneak peak behind the scenes of Disney on Ice! The show made a stop at the Nassau Coliseum.

  • 2018 Country Music Award Association Awards

    2018 Country Music Award Association Awards

    Photos from the 2018 Country Music Award Association Awards on Nov. 14, 2018.

    Photos from the 2018 Country Music Award Association Awards on Nov. 14, 2018.

  • The 'worst toys' for the holidays, according to safety group

    The 'worst toys' for the holidays, according to safety group

    Tuesday, November 13 2018 6:35 PM EST2018-11-13 23:35:07 GMT

    A Black Panther “slash claw” and a plastic Power Rangers sword are among the items topping a consumer safety group’s annual list of worst toys for the holiday season.

    A Black Panther “slash claw” and a plastic Power Rangers sword are among the items topping a consumer safety group’s annual list of worst toys for the holiday season.

sorry to interrupt
your first 20 are free
Access to News 12 is free for Optimum, Comcast®, Spectrum Networks® and Service ElectricSM customers.
Please enjoy 20 complimentary views of articles, photos, and videos during the next 30 days.
you have reached your 20 view limit
Access to News 12 is free for Optimum, Comcast®, Spectrum Networks® and Service ElectricSM customers.
Please login or create an account to continue enjoying News12.
Our sign-up page is undergoing maintenance and is not currently available. However, you will be given direct access to news12.com while we complete our upgrade.
When we are back up and running you will be prompted at that time to complete your sign in. Until then, enjoy the local news, weather, traffic and more that's "as local as local news gets."