With flu and norovirus season ramping up and expected to last through May, facilities across the country are honing in on illness prevention and the use of innovative technology to help keep inhabitants healthy.
Each year, productivity losses linked to absenteeism cost employers an average of $225.8 billion and schools are often among the hardest hit with nearly 60 million school days lost each year due to cold and flu alone. In fact, one in four children (23%) have already missed a day of school this year in the U.S. due to cold and flu viruses so it is important that facilities take proactive measures to prevent the spread of illness in their facilities, starting with surface disinfection.
Almost 80% of infectious diseases spread by touch and facilities such as schools and gyms present a perfect storm of environmental risk factors and population traits conducive to outbreaks. With so many people sharing the same spaces and surfaces each day, facilities cannot rely solely on building occupants taking measures like proper handwashing and flu shots. Routine and complete surface disinfection is critical, especially since flu viruses can survive on hard surfaces for up to 48 hours and norovirus particles can live on surfaces for days.
Preventing Illness In Facilities
Below are measures schools and other facilities can take to help keep students and building occupants healthy during the upcoming season when illness tends to strike hardest.
- Make sure your facility is routinely disinfecting surfaces with an EPA-registered disinfectant, not just in response to outbreaks or during the winter months
- Incorporate innovative technology into your facility’s cleaning protocol to reach all the surfaces to help prevent the spread of germs
- Encourage frequent hand-washing, especially after coughing, sneezing or blowing noses
- Encourage students, employees and staff members to stay home if they are ill and do not return until completely healthy again
- Cough or sneeze into elbows
- Encourage everyone to get his or her flu shot
Adding Additional Winter Illness Protection
Since it can be nearly impossible for janitors and building staff to completely disinfect all surfaces manually, some facilities are turning to electrostatic technology to reach even the hardest-to-reach places from the backsides of chairs, to the edges of athletic facility bleachers.
Schools like Morley Stanwood Community Schools in Morley, MI and Mission Consolidated Independent School District in Mission, TX are using Clorox Professional’s Clorox® Total 360® System to address winter illness prevention. The system combines patented electrostatic technology with scientifically-tested Clorox® disinfecting and sanitizing solutions, enabling the schools’ cleaning staff to carry out quick and comprehensive cleanings with superior surface coverage.
The system works by charging and atomizing the Clorox® disinfecting or sanitizing solution and delivering a powerful flow of the charged particles that are attracted to surfaces with a force stronger than gravity. This allows the solution to easily reach and uniformly coat surfaces, including germ hotspots like the sides, underside, and backside of surfaces, where trigger spray methods might easily miss. It covers up to 18,000 square feet per hour, providing superior surface coverage up to four times faster and using up to 65 percent less product compared with conventional trigger sprayers per square foot.
- “Work Illness and Injury Costs U.S. Employers $225.8 Billion Annually,” CDC Foundation, Jan. 28, 2015. (Accessed Aug. 3, 2017).
- “How Dirty is Your Child’s School.” ISSA, Nov. 29, 2017. (Accessed Aug. 3, 2017).
- The Clorox Company Survey, October 2017.
- Tierno, P. The Secret Life of Germs. New York, NY USA. Aurora Books 2006.
What are some of the ways you prevent winter illnesses from spreading at your facility? Are illness prevention approaches in schools different than in other kinds of facilities? Please share your thoughts, experiences, and comments below.