The annual flu season brings with it a flurry of infectious viruses, from the common cold to the coronavirus and the flu. While infections run rampant during the fall and winter months, avoiding catching a virus is achieved largely by properly cleaning and disinfecting surfaces.
What infections are dominant during flu season?
Three different viruses cause respiratory illnesses and can predominantly occur during flu season: the common cold, the flu and Covid-19. These viral infections produce similar symptoms in infected individuals. Out of these three infections, the common cold results in the mildest symptoms.
People suffering from a common cold experience a stuffy nose and sore throat. Flu symptoms appear abruptly and include the chills, chest discomfort, and headaches. Covid-19 symptoms produce chills, shortness of breath, new loss of taste or smell, and a runny nose.
These three respiratory infections are contagious. The rhinovirus most frequently causes the common cold, although 200 different types of viruses can cause cold symptoms. The influenza virus is responsible for causing the flu. Anyone exposed to the SARS-CoV-2 virus can develop mild or severe Covid-19.
Catching any of the aforementioned viruses can cause children to miss school and working adults to call in sick. The economic and social impacts associated with these viruses can be mitigated, however. The solution is regular disinfections and cleanings throughout flu season.
What is the difference between sanitizing, cleaning and disinfecting?
When preparing for the start of the annual flu season in October, property owners should first be aware of the differences between sanitizing, cleaning, and disinfecting. Sanitizing surfaces eliminates 99.9 percent of bacteria. Exposure to germs is significantly reduced after proper sanitizing.
Cleaning refers to removing visible dirt and grime from surfaces. Soap (or detergent) and water are sufficient for cleaning various areas. However, while cleaning dislodges dirt, the process fails to kill germs and lingering bacteria. Due to this reason, cleaning is usually combined with disinfecting.
Disinfecting kills germs and bacteria from surfaces and objects. While disinfecting eliminates germs, the process does not clean dirty surfaces. Bleach solutions and those containing alcohol are commonly used to disinfect. Following the recommended contact time ensures the germs are killed.
The spread of infections, such as the common cold, the flu and Covid-19, are reduced by effectively disinfecting surfaces. Touching contaminated surfaces can introduce the virus into an individual’s respiratory system. Cleaning and disinfecting kill the viruses before they have a chance to infect.
What areas should be cleaned and disinfected?
Since these three viruses are transmitted by touching contaminated surfaces, it becomes critical to invest in an effective cleaning and disinfecting regimen. The cleaning phase removes the dirt particles that contain the infectious agents, and disinfecting kills the infection-causing viruses.
High-touch surfaces (items that are frequently handled) must be routinely cleaned and disinfected to reduce the spread of viral infections. Examples of high-touch objects in commercial facilities include doorknobs, light switches, elevator buttons, handrails, desks, phones, faucet handles, and countertops.
How often should surfaces be cleaned and disinfected?
Surfaces should be cleaned and disinfected on a daily basis to prevent the transmission of viruses during flu season. When an outbreak of the flu or Covid-19 is confirmed, increase the frequency of cleanings and disinfections as a precautionary health safety measure.
The influenza virus lives on surfaces for two to eight hours after being deposited by an infected person. Resultingly, slowing the spread of the flu does not require facility managers to close the building in order to perform a thorough cleaning and disinfection.
When an individual tests positive for Covid-19 within the last 24 hours, it is critical to clean and disinfect the area occupied by the infected person. Close off the space in order to conduct a cleaning and disinfection. Cleaning personnel must wait several hours before beginning the process.
What products should be used to successfully clean and disinfect?
As mentioned, cleaning may be readily accomplished with soap or detergent and water; a general-purpose cleaner is also effective. Effective disinfecting requires an EPA-registered disinfectant. In order to kill germs, it is important to follow the contact time recommended on the product label.
Choose disinfectant products that are manufactured to specifically kill the cold, flu, and Covid-19 viruses. Some products are able to both clean and disinfect. When applying a multi-use product, read the instructions carefully; the cleaning and disinfecting processes may require different procedures.
Cleaning products can be hazardous or lethal when combined. Consequently, cleaning personnel must follow the instructions on the product label. Eye and hand protection may be necessary when using certain disinfectants and cleaners. Adequate ventilation is required when applying disinfectants.
Cleaning and disinfecting a facility during flu season are important to protect employees’ health, improve the quality of the indoor environment, boost productivity, and avoid economic losses. Routinely cleaning and disinfecting are laborious but necessary tasks—which makes cleaning pros helpful.
ServiceMaster All Care Restoration is equipped with the machinery, manpower, and expertise to thoroughly clean and disinfect your commercial or residential property. Our bio cleaning services are especially beneficial during the annual flu seasons but are helpful throughout the year.
Our crews of experienced cleaning professionals are trained to identify, clean, and disinfect all high-touch spots, thereby improving the health of your workforce. We utilize advanced technologies and professional-grade products to ensure all surface areas are completely cleaned and disinfected.
ServiceMaster All Care Restoration is available 24 hours a day to respond to needs for emergency cleanings or disinfections, which may be necessary after an individual becomes sick with Covid-19. We are locally based, so our crews arrive onsite quickly to perform the essential disinfecting services.
We are proud to protect the health of people living and working in Phoenix, Arizona. ServiceMaster All Care Restoration cleaning and disinfection services are vital during flu season and beyond. We can accommodate various schedules and are available for routine services. Contact us today for professional bio & trauma cleaning services.