The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that influenza has resulted in between 9 and 45 million illnesses each year since 2010¹. These illnesses lead to 111 million lost workdays costing businesses an estimated $16.3 million annually.² To minimize the impact of the cold and flu season on your organization this year, it is important to develop a comprehensive plan involving targeted hygiene, surface and skin care, and the right behaviors within your facility.
Here are five steps you can take in your facility now, courtesy of SC Johnson Professional:
- Develop a targeted hygiene program. To break the chain of infection in public facilities, follow targeted hygiene guidance that focuses on hygiene behavior rather than just routine cleaning and disinfection. To prevent frequent re-contamination, combine cleaning and disinfecting surfaces with effective hand hygiene at the eight high-risk moments when hands can become contaminated.
- Encourage proper hand hygiene. Place signage in restrooms encouraging hand washing and reinforcing proper hand washing technique. Make sure hand sanitizer is available in strategic locations where soap and water may not be available such as entrances/exits and hallways. Offer hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol to help reduce the spread of germs.³ To prevent skin dryness, opt for products that contain moisturizers.
- Choose and stock the right products. Facility managers should check product labels and choose appropriate products to clean and disinfect the surfaces present in their facility. Consider disinfectants that are effective against viruses like norovirus and influenza as well as SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. Keep an appropriate amount of inventory in stock so staff does not run out at inconvenient times.
- Read labels and follow application instructions. Kill claims for viruses and bacteria vary by product. Be sure to read product labels carefully and thoroughly before use and follow proper application instructions, maintaining recommended contact times to achieve the stated kills claim. Set aside time to train staff on proper cleaning and disinfecting techniques, per product instructions.
- Encourage proper etiquette. Finally, it is important to promote proper etiquette among employees, occupants, and visitors. This includes practicing social distancing, covering the mouth when coughing or sneezing, washing or sanitizing hands at the appropriate times, and asking workers to stay home when they feel ill.