It’s that time of year again — cold and flu season. Slowing the spread of germs and avoiding sickness is a daily goal, especially in schools and workplaces. In order to effectively combat influenza (flu) outbreak, you must first understand the cleaning products needed and how to effectively use each.
Know the Difference
Understanding the difference between cleaners, sanitizers, disinfectants, virucides and sterilants is key to implementing the correct preventative measures for your facility during this season.
Visit EnvirOx Healthy Cleaning Guide to learn more.
It’s important to check the label of the products you’re using to making sure they have an influenza claim. It’s also essential to make sure you know the dwell time needed per product; this is how long the surface must remain wet to properly kill the virus. Lastly, you’ll want to check the safety profile of the product. Look at the Safety Data Sheet and the product label, assessing any warnings and precautionary statements. Disinfectants and sterilants can be harsh chemicals and reducing the health risks to your staff and students is critical. You can reduce these risks by choosing safer, healthier products that also have influenza claims and by using disinfectants only where necessary.
Two-Step Cleaning and Disinfecting Process
During the cold and flu season, the CDC recommends continuing to follow a standard cleaning process that includes disinfecting major touch points. Touch points are surfaces such as desks, keyboards, doorknobs, countertops, faucet handles and phones. Before implementing a disinfecting process however, it’s important to understand exactly how to properly disinfect. Following a two-step process, mapped out by the CDC, is the best way to get successful results.
The Importance of Hand Hygiene
Although implementing a proper cleaning and disinfecting process is a great step in slowing the spread of influenza (flu), it’s important to note that proper hand hygiene is the first line of defense. Washing hands regularly helps to decrease the amount of germs being transferred each time you come in contact with any major touch points. Along with washing hands routinely, you should also avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
Did You Know?
Another thing to keep in mind, flu germs only stay active for 2 to 8 hours outside the body. This means that if students and staff are sent home due to a flu outbreak, there’s no reason to shut down the entire school to clean and disinfect every surface in the building. They also state that implementing special cleaning procedures during this time, such as air deodorizers and fumigation, is unnecessary and can cause more harm than good. These types of disinfecting methods often lead to eye, nose, throat and skin irritation as well as asthma aggravation. Side effects such as these tend to occur with the usage of traditional cleaners and disinfectants as well. It’s important to take the time to research safer, healthier products that allow for proper cleaning and disinfecting without the harmful health risks.
For more information on a cleaning and disinfecting process, see the CDC’s guide to cleaning and disinfecting schools.
To learn more about how to select safer products, please visit our "Choosing the Best Cleaners" guide.