Increasing cleaning and disinfection frequencies this cold and flu season will help protect occupant safety and operational health.
The 2022 Flu (So Far) in Review
The 2022-23 cold and flu season stands in stark contrast to previous years.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), during the 48th week of 2021, all territories, except for New Mexico, reported mild influenza-like illness (ILI) activity.
Conversely, per the CDC's ILI map for the 48th week of 2022, all but eight territories report very high ILI activity amid rapidly increasing hospitalization rates due to influenza among the young and elderly.
Increasing cleaning and disinfection rates can significantly arrest the rapidly advancing spread of influenza.
Depending on the size of your building(s) and the type of your operation, one of the easiest things you can do to limit the spread of the flu is to increase cleaning frequencies.
If your department typically cleans in the evening after the building is vacated, you can assign a day porter who is responsible for cleaning fomites, or high-touch areas throughout the building.
These cleaning frequencies should be adjusted based on building occupancy, traffic and severity of the outbreak.
For example, a restroom in an emergency room requires much more frequent cleaning than a restroom in a private office building.
Enhanced Cleaning Combats Influenza Transmission
Recent research has demonstrated that a holistic or multi-pronged approach to facility health is the best method for ensuring occupant safety.
According to a study conducted by Lysol Pro Solutions;
The findings underscore the importance of hygiene as the foundation for health in all settings, including businesses.
A host of precautionary measures can be put in place to help combat the severity of the impact of the flu and COVID-19, including avoiding close contact with people who are sick, covering coughs and sneezes, improving air filtration, cleaning and disinfecting of high-touch surfaces that are likely to be contaminated, and practicing good hand hygiene.
Recommended intervention strategies to prevent seasonal respiratory infections include:
- Cleaning occupied buildings at least once daily (varying based on risk level) with a commercial-grade detergent applied with microfiber.
- Disinfect high-contact surfaces several times per day based on facility risk levels, foot traffic, and local outbreak status.
- Increase cleaning frequencies for floors at main entry points and in restrooms.
- Check restrooms and handwashing stations throughout the day to ensure they are in good working order and hygienic in appearance.
- Install commercial-grade entry mats and HVAC HEPA filters to capture soil, germs, and toxic microbes in the air and on occupant shoes.
- Increase disinfection rates in high-risk facilities to once daily.
- Improve cleaning and disinfection outcomes by leveraging advanced deployment solutions--e.g., electrostatic sprayers, scrubber-vacs, and automated floor scrubbers.
- Encourage increased handwashing with soap and water.
Seasonal influenza infections cost businesses big time, and this year has started out bad and will likely get far worse.
Smart business owners know that making the small investment in maintaining the highest standards of facility cleanliness and occupant safety now can save them a fortune down the road and give them a leg up on the competition.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that sick days cost U.S. businesses roughly $225.8 billion annually, and a study conducted by the ISSA Cleaning Association showed unplanned absences alone reduce productivity by as much as 54 percent.
These numbers are eye-opening in any year, but today’s labor stresses — spanning industries from hospitality to food service to schools — place added emphasis on the need to prioritize health and wellness.
Employers that adopt and stick to effective cleaning and hand hygiene practices will be well-positioned to maintain a healthy, productive workforce at a time when every available worker is greatly needed.
The risk of some of the challenges we’ve seen in recent years — restaurants limiting hours of operation, schools struggling to find substitute teachers, and businesses of all sizes feeling the impact of lost productivity due to sick employees — can be mitigated with the right approach, commitment, and partnership.
Vanguard Cleaning Systems of the Ozarks franchise-owned custodial service provider business cleans more than 8M sq. ft. each week, maintaining an industry topping 95+% of its customer base, year-over-year, and boasting more than 60 5-star Google reviews.
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