By John Lauritsen

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — With nearly 4,000 Minnesotans hospitalized, this has been one of the worst flu seasons in recent memory.

And chances are you know a co-worker or family member who’s gotten sick.

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A lot of people think that once the flu is gone, you need to disinfect your home from top to bottom. So how can you flush the flu from your house? Good Question.

For Dr. Frank Rhame of Allina Health, this has been as busy year as he can remember. But he said a common misconception is that the flu virus lives on surfaces for hours or days.

“They die pretty quickly. So the first hour is when they are dangerous,” said Dr. Rhame said.

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That means don’t worry about disinfecting things your fingers don’t typically touch, like walls and floors. A television remote should be disinfected because everyone touches it.

But Dr. Rhame said there’s no reason to throw away your toothbrush since you are hopefully the only one who uses it.

“Keyboards, door handles. Things that actually get touched are actually the most hazardous,” said Dr. Rhame. “Glasses and silverware, nothing more than ordinary dish washing is needed for that.”

Dr. Rhame said disinfectant wipes work great, and even soap and water will do the trick. But you have to go after the virus like it went after you.

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“Contact time matters. It isn’t that you wipe it off and it’s gone. You have to have the disinfectant in contact with the contaminated object for a while,” said Dr. Rhame.

John Lauritsen