According to the CDC, H3N2 viruses are predominant so far this flu season and H3N2-predominant seasons often are more severe, especially for young children and people 65 and older. As flu activity continues and likely increases this winter, facilities must take measures for prevention.
80% of illness-causing germs are spread through touch according to the CDC, cleaning and disinfecting is a critical piece in helping prevent illness and outbreaks. With this is mind we wanted to share tips from Clorox Professional Products Company to help cleaning professionals prevent the spread of flu and other winter germs in their facilities.
Here are five ways facilities and staff can help keep germs away:
- Clean and disinfect regularly. Regular cleaning and disinfection are the best way to treat environmental surfaces to help mitigate the impact of winter illnesses, but effective strategies require a holistic approach that targets germs on hard and soft surfaces.
- Target high-touch surfaces. Objects and surfaces that are frequently-touched such as desks, countertops, doorknobs, keyboards, faucets, phones and elevator buttons need to be disinfected at least once a day with an EPA-registered disinfectant. This is especially important as viruses that cause the common cold and flu can survive on surfaces for hours at a time.
- Don’t overlook soft surfaces. From carpets and curtains to upholstery, soft surfaces can be germ reservoirs. For instance, flu viruses can survive on soft surfaces for up to 12 hours. Make sure you incorporate decontaminating soft surfaces using products that are EPA-registered to kill illness-causing germs as part of your ongoing approach to facility-wide infection prevention approach.
- Choose the right products and use them correctly. Select products that have label claims to kill bacteria and viruses like influenza and rhinovirus (the leading cause of the common cold) quickly. Remember to always refer to the product label and follow manufacturer’s instructions for use and contact time, or the length of time the disinfectant needs to remain wet on the surface to properly kill germs.
- Practice personal illness-prevention tips. Encourage employees to practice general healthy habits. Discourage sick employees from coming to work and instruct everyone to wash their hands regularly with soap and water especially after emptying waste baskets, touching used tissues, coughing or sneezing or using the bathroom.