SAN DIEGO – Coronavirus, influenza and respiratory syncytial virus, or RSV, a common respiratory virus, are all expected to peak at the same time in the fall. It has hospitals on high alert and germ experts ready to help combat the illnesses in local offices and schools.
Why will the flu be worse this year?
Over the past two years, people’s behaviors shifted amid the COVID-19 pandemic. More folks stayed home, wore masks, lessened travel and minimized human contact. These actions helped stifle the flu, which typically hospitalizes hundreds of thousands of people annually. As a result, doctors warned that immune systems may not be as strong against influenza as past years.
The same is true for RSV, a virus that commonly affects children.
The cleaning professionals at Stratus Building Solutions, the nation’s leading commercial cleaning and janitorial company, have created a plan to “Tackle the Tri-demic!” It’s a seven-step process to help keep offices and schools protected from the triple whammy of both COVID-19, flu and RSV.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, COVID-19 and flu are both contagious and are caused by two different viruses. The good news is both sets of germs can be eliminated with some of the same cleaning and disinfecting techniques, if done correctly.
Learn the difference between cleaning, sanitizing and disinfecting.
The CDC provided an easy definition. Cleaning removes germs and dirt from surfaces and can be done with simple soap and water.
Sanitizing reduces the bacteria identified on the cleaning product’s label on surfaces and in laundry, cloth desk chairs, etc.
Disinfecting destroys both bacteria and viruses identified on the product’s label on hard, nonporous surfaces. Disinfecting is the most important step and is the only step that kills germs.
Pre-clean the surface
The best way to guard against the flu and the coronavirus is to clean the surface first with soap and water and make sure it’s visibly dry before using a disinfectant chemical.
Know what products to use
The flu and coronavirus can both be killed using similar products. As a general note, any household cleaner containing bleach or at least 70% alcohol will work.
Use the EPA’s List N to see if a product works against coronavirus. These products will also kill the flu virus.
Use different cloths for disinfecting different services.
Microfiber cloths work best for disinfecting. Unlike standard cotton towels, microfiber towels can pick up bacteria and germs without the use of chemicals. Be sure to use separate cloths for the bathroom, kitchen area and desks.
Stratus Building Solutions uses a color-coded system which helps to avoid mix-ups.
Wipe in one direction.
Wiping in circles can cause dirt and germs to be recycled to areas that were just cleaned. Practicing wiping in one direction will allow dirt and germs to be removed and not replaced.
Make high touch surfaces a priority.
It cannot be overstated. There are some surfaces that are touched hundreds of times a day and can be a breeding ground for the flu and coronavirus.
Doorknobs, water fountain buttons, faucets, computer keyboards, phones, countertops and breakroom tables should all be cleansed and disinfected every single day.
Don’t forget about the air.
Research from the CDC shows that, like coronavirus, the flu virus can travel through the air. Stratus Build Solutions can combat this problem with the use of an electrostatic sprayer which helps to disinfect the air.
A do-it-yourself method for cleaning the air includes providing ventilation, such as opening doors and/or windows, and using a portable air purifier.
Look for a model with a HEPA filter, which must remove 99.97% of the tiniest of particles, including the flu virus, from the air.
Submitted by Stratus Building Solutions.