Flu Season Prevention
Flu season is arguably the roughest time of year for most people. And with the evolution of the flu viruses, protecting yourself, and those in your building is an even bigger fete.
Unfortunately, flu season means much more than just a few sniffles or a day or two at home. On average, 20% of the population (US) gets the flu each year - that’s almost 63 million people. Additionally, of that number, more than 200,000 people are hospitalized due to flu-related complications.
During this time of year it’s especially important to pay attention to our surroundings and to make sure we’re providing a clean, healthy work environment for our employees, customers, etc. The flu virus can live on surfaces for up to 48 hours if they’re not properly disinfected or sanitized, and during flu season, up to 59% of surfaces will be contaminated with the flu virus. That amounts to 6 out of every 10 things you touch on a daily basis having the potential to transmit the flu to you. Even more than the inconvenience being sick, it takes a toll on the economy as well. Flu outbreaks cost businesses an estimated $10 billion a year in lost time and health care expenses.
So, how do you protect yourself?
The CDC recommends these simple methods of prevention:
- Cover your nose and mouth when you cough or sneeze (use the crook of your elbow instead of your hands)
- Wash your hands often with soap and water
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth
- Avoid close contact with sick people
- If you are sick, stay home\
- Keep hard surfaces clean and wipe them down regularly with a disinfectant (make sure it’s EPA registered for influenza)
It’s important to point out that regardless of what hand cleaner you use, if you’re not washing properly, your chances of contracting the flu will go increase. So let’s review proper hand washing procedures.
- Use soap and water (in a pinch, hand sanitizer can be used).
- Wet your hands first and then apply soap.
- Rub your hands together for a full 20 seconds (the equivalent of singing “Happy Birthday” twice).
- Rinse hands under warm water.
- Dry hands thoroughly using a paper towel or hand dryer.
In terms of what soap you should use, talk to your Account Manager about any of our hand care with “Defense” in the name, such as Hands On® Defense, our premium liquid soap, or Gentle Fresh™ Defense, our rich foaming soap. Both of these soaps utilize benzalkonium chloride, a strong anti-bacterial agent, to combat germs and help keep you and your employees healthy.
While soap and water are the best options, sometimes they’re simply not available. In those instances, the CDC recommends using a waterless alcohol based sanitizer, such as our Gentle Fresh™ alcohol foaming sanitizer or the extremely convenient Quick Defense™ Hand Sanitizing wipes.
Prevention doesn’t stop with hand cleaning. With the majority of objects you touch during flu season being contaminated, hard surface disinfection is incredibly important. You should pay particular attention to high touch surfaces, such as counter tops, restroom fixtures, telephones railings and door handles. Make sure to thoroughly clean and then disinfect using an EPA registered disinfectant.
State has many options when it comes to disinfection. The most economical are our disinfectant concentrates, Ecolution™ Disinfectant, Quick Defense™ Neutral Disinfectant Cleaner (NDC), and Po2wer DC™. All of these are best utilized through the One Solution™ system to ensure accurate dilution ratios, which ensures proper disinfection. Of course, make sure you’re allowing for adequate dwell time, and always follow the use instructions on the product label for best results.
In addition to our concentrated disinfectant cleaners, we also have super convenient products, such as our ready-to-use aerosol Discover™, continuous spray Quick Defense™ and our Quick Defense Disinfecting Wipes.
Whichever product you choose this flu season, make sure you’re following all the steps to prevention to keep yourself, your employees, and your customers healthy and happy.