Coughing, sneezing and sniffling, oh my! As the weather begins to cool off and the trees change to various beautiful colors, the inevitable cold and flu season creeps its way back in. Often, we get caught up in the business of everyday life this time of year, making it easy to forget how important proper hygiene practices are for infection prevention (IP).
Here are some recommendations for practicing healthy habits in public restrooms to prevent the spread of cold and flu.
Wash with Purpose
Our hands touch over 100 different germ hot spots on an average day. That’s why hand hygiene is one of the most important and effective ways to fight against bacteria and seasonal illnesses. However, even when using soap and water, up to 58% of people don’t wash their hands correctly or long enough to be effective. This makes the transmission of germs, illnesses and infections more likely, as our hands carry as many as 150 varied species of bacteria at a time.
Practicing correct handwashing techniques is vital. This includes washing your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, reducing the number of times you touch sink handles and drying your hands properly. Doing so can reduce the spread of cold and flu illnesses by up to 21%.
Stock Up on Necessities
Over 50 million Americans suffer from fall allergies each year. As sneezing and coughing see an uptick during the seasonal change, it’s important to make sure your facility is stocked with hygienic necessities that help reduce the transmission of germs. For example, supply tissues throughout your facility and in restrooms.
Also, in facility restrooms, consider switching to touchless paper towel dispensers to reduce the number of surfaces restroom users must touch. Wet hands are more likely to transfer germs than dry hands. Therefore, implementing touchless paper towel dispensers allows for an efficient solution to minimize the number of touchpoints and lingering germs on surfaces.
You may also want to incorporate a tissue dispenser and garbage bin near the restroom exit so facility occupants can avoid touching door handles as they leave.
Encourage Restroom Upkeep
On average, there are over 500,000 bacterial cells per square inch in public restrooms. This makes it extremely easy to transmit and spread germs and illnesses throughout a facility. Consider updating your facility’s cleaning and maintenance routines, especially during cold and flu season. A greater focus on minimizing the spread of germs this time of year can help reduce the risk of your employees and occupants getting sick.
While the frequency of public restroom sanitization and disinfection varies, mainly due to the size of the facility and its number of occupants, it’s recommended to clean high-touch surfaces once a day. Hiring a professional cleaning service or going over cleanliness expectations with your cleaning staff shows employees and occupants that their safety and well-being are a top priority.
Comfort Over Convenience
Don’t let the return of seasonal cold and flu germs stop you or your facility’s occupants from feeling their best. Help fight the spread of illness by taking proper precautions to ensure a safe and healthy environment. When guests or employees use your facility, they should feel safe and comfortable, which starts with an exceptionally hygienic restroom.
About the Author:
Giorgia Giove is the marketing manager for Sofidel America.