Viral meningitis is an infection of the membranes around the brain and spine, which causes severe flu-like symptoms. Viral meningitis is contagious and spreads through bodily fluids, particularly mucous, saliva and faeces. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Protection (CDC), the viruses that cause meningitis can be contracted through contact with objects handled by infected individuals and can remain present on surfaces for days. Therefore, following an attack of viral meningitis, it's crucial to clean and disinfect contaminated areas to prevent further spread of the disease.
- Skill level:
Things you need
- Dish soap
- Chlorine bleach
- Rubber gloves
- Disinfectant spray
- Paper towels
Scrub all surfaces in a room, such as tables, bookcases and dressers, using a mixture of dish soap and hot water applied with a sponge. In a bathroom, scrub down the sink, toilet, countertops and shower stall; in a kitchen, scrub the countertops, sink and stove range.
Prepare a solution of ¼ cup of bleach mixed with a gallon of warm water. Disinfect all the just-cleaned areas by wiping them down with the solution on a sponge. Wear rubber gloves, as bleach can irritate skin.
Clean and disinfect all objects that are frequently touched by multiple individuals. This includes door handles, drawer pulls, light switches, telephone receivers, refrigerator handles, remote controls and communal appliances such as hair dryers or coffee makers. You can use a sponge and the same bleach solution, or you may find it more convenient to use a disinfectant spray and paper towels. Make sure the product you choose is specifically labelled "Disinfectant" and has an EPA registration number on the label.
Wash all plates, glasses and utensils in hot water. Use plenty of detergent and scrub well, or run them through the dishwasher. If desired, you can submerge these items in the bleach solution to kill all traces of viruses, but be sure to wash and rinse away the bleach.
Continue cleaning the room as you would normally. Launder sheets, pillowcases and towels. Gather and discard used tissues. Take out the trash.
Tips and warnings
- Disposable pre-moistened sanitising wipes are a good choice to use for disinfecting small areas like doorknobs, telephones and light switches. Again, check the label to make sure the product is EPA-approved.
- Take special care when cleaning a nursery or a small child's room. Diaper-changing areas should be disinfected and dirty diapers should be removed. Soak children's toys in the bleach solution, then rinse them well under fresh running water.
- While viral meningitis is rarely fatal, it is a serious disease. Anyone infected with viral meningitis should see a doctor for appropriate treatment and to rule out the possibility of a more serious condition, such as bacterial meningitis.
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