Sniffle, sniffle, cough, cough. Achoo!
Is this what you are hearing at your school or place of business lately? It’s that time of year again – cold and flu season is hitting the United States in startling numbers this year. If your workplace sounds like a cacophony of sneezes and coughs, you may want to be sure that proper precautions are being taken to keep surfaces clean and high-traffic touchpoints free of germs.
With flu season in full swing, Americans can’t risk being exposed, as this year’s strain seems particularly nasty. Couple this with the continuing spread of covid-19 and the host of other respiratory illnesses going around currently and it’s smart to take sanitizing measures at your school or workplace. (Not to mention at your home.)
As a commercial cleaning business, we can’t help you disinfect your home, but we can make some suggestions on how to protect your school or business from facing massive student illnesses and employees that call in sick.
Here are some helpful facts about the state of the 2022-2023 flu season, symptoms to watch for, and ways to sanitize and clean at your place of business.
The 2022-2023 Flu Season
Although flu season is not over yet, preliminary numbers are coming out regarding how many Americans have caught the illness as well as how many have succumbed to the virus.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that, from October 1, 2022, through January 14, 2023, there have been 25 – 50 million flu illnesses, 270,000 – 600,000 flu hospitalizations, and 17,000 – 52,000 flu deaths.
Since not all people who experience symptoms report their illness, the CDC estimates these figures by calculating based on data collected through CDC’s Influenza Hospitalization Surveillance Network (FluSurv-NET). These are merely preliminary but give us a good idea of how prevalent the flu is in our country currently.
The only other recent year when influenza numbers measured higher was 2017 – 2018 when the flu shot was said to not be a good match for the spreading illness.
What Is The Flu & Its Symptoms?
Since the flu is commonly confused with other illnesses that spike during the winter months, we thought it important to discuss what the flu is and what symptoms you may want to be on the lookout for at your workplace or school.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, the flu “is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses that infect the nose, throat, and sometimes the lungs. It can cause mild to severe illness, and at times can lead to death. The best way to prevent flu is by getting a flu vaccine each year.”
Depending on your age and health, you may experience flu symptoms that are mild or severe. Many people who have received the flu shot find that their symptoms are shortened and not as severe as those who have chosen to not get the flu shot.
Symptoms of the flu include having a fever or feeling feverish/chills, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle or body aches, headaches, fatigue (tiredness), and some may experience vomiting and diarrhea, though this is more common in children than adults.
Not all who get the flu feel feverish or get a fever, but many report a combination of these symptoms. Many explain that the symptoms came on suddenly.
To be diagnosed with flu A or flu B, one must have a nasal swab, similar to the covid-19 test to determine if you have the flu.
How The Flu Spreads
Over the past few years, we have all learned so much about respiratory droplets and how they can travel through the air, and how those droplets can live on surfaces for a certain amount of time before they become inactive.
Flu experts at the CDC report that flu viruses are spread mainly by tiny droplets made when people with flu cough, sneeze, or talk. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby. A person might also get the flu by touching a surface or object that has the flu virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes.
Due to the infectiousness of the flu and the manner in which it spreads it is critical that workplaces and schools are cleaned thoroughly and in key locations to stop the spread of this illness.
Preventing the Spread of Flu
Let’s discuss some techniques that can be helpful in stopping the spread of the flu, and other respiratory illnesses.
Hire a Commercial Cleaning Company
Disinfecting a space is one of the most critical steps in preventing the flu from spreading from one student to another or one colleague to another. Regular cleaning of touchpoints is critical to kill the germs that cause the flu. S.J. Services prides itself on being the top cleaning business for New England schools and works diligently to keep these spaces sanitized to prevent the further spread of this illness.
Our teams of cleaners know how to professionally disinfect and sanitize surfaces such as doorknobs, elevators, stair rails, waiting rooms, phones, classroom supplies like staplers, office equipment, and of course the bathrooms. Keep in mind that proper cleaning on a regular basis can kill up to 90% of germs including the flu and the common cold.
Practice Good Hygiene
How many times over the last few years have we heard how to practice good hygiene such as washing hands multiple times a day and sneezing or coughing into an elbow instead of a hand?
While it may seem to be enough to say washing your hands often, it is quite another to have the needed supplies of soap and paper towels at the ready in bathrooms throughout the school or work day. Our Day Porter services here at S.J. Services can help keep bathrooms free of trash and disinfected all day long.
Keeping our clients in good supply of tissues may seem like a small thing, but when the flu is spreading like wildfire, our team can ensure that hand sanitizer and tissues are readily available in high-traffic areas including bathrooms and common areas.
One thing we have all learned over the past few years is that when sick, stay home. It is important that if your employees or students are sick that they understand flexibility will be granted. When possible allow for remote work to be completed or flexible hours if the person is well enough to complete work at home.
We hope this flu season finds you well. Please contact us if you need commercial cleaning for your school or workplace.