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Tips to prevent the spread of germs

Here are some healthy habits and simple solutions to help prevent you from getting sick.

With so much buzz lately about the coronavirus and the flu, here’s a question: “when’s the last time you washed your pillow?”

It’s one of the many places germs could be hiding.

Newswatch 16’s Ryan Leckey is tackling all sorts of tips to battle bacteria that could get you sick.

Ryan teamed up with Dr. Anthony (Tony) Serino, associate professor of biology at Misericordia University, and several biology majors to help bring this “germ alert” segment to life.

The following tips are courtesy of Dr. Anthony Serino and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:

Coronavirus (COVID-19)

The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus. CDC always recommends everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory diseases, including:

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
  • If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.
  • Coronavirus (COVID-19)
  • Follow CDC’s recommendations for using a facemask.
  • CDC does not recommend that people who are well to wear a facemask to protect themselves from respiratory diseases, including COVID-19.
  • Facemasks should be used by people who show symptoms of COVID-19 to help prevent the spread of the disease to others. The use of facemasks is also crucial for health workers and people who are taking care of someone in close settings (at home or in a health care facility).

Other ideas to down on germs to prevent getting sick


  • Should be cleaned once every six months or so
  • Follow manufacture’s cleaning instructions found on the tag
  • Can use 1T each of baking soda, oxygen bleach, and peroxide in a tub of hot water to wash cotton and man-made materials in the washer
  • (NO Detergent –too sudsy –impossible to rinse)
  • Dry on the warm setting in dryer with wool dryer balls (not tennis balls)
  • Foam and Down should be hand washed with same solution (wring out and dry hanging in the sun)
  • Alternatively, can through cotton and man-made pillows into a dryer on high (with balls) will freshen and kill mites

Airline seats

  • Bring sanitizing wipes with you on a plane
  • Wipe down all surfaces you will touch like the seat, headrest, arms, seatbelt buckles, air vent, air vent controls, call button, and tray table. Tray table has been shown to contain 12X the amount of germs found on toilet seats)
  • Wash hands before bordering, use hand sanitizer while on a plane, try not to touch one’s face
  • Try not to use the restroom on a plane if possible
  • If seated next to someone coughing, turn AC vent on high over your own head to create a cone of flowing air over your head to limit particles from the other person

Surgical Masks

  • Mainly designed to prevent spreading your germs to another person.
  • Masks have a colored side (meant to be visible while wearing) that prevents particulates (water drops) from leaving masks. Most organisms, including viruses, spread through contaminated droplets of body fluid.
  • Masks can help prevent you from this transfer even though they may not be completely sealed against one’s face (at least reduces transfer rate)

Do some disinfectants work better than others? See what biologists found. Plus, learn the dos and don'ts around surgical masks. Also included in the video is an update on the new science center at Misericordia University.