Eight Of The Biggest Flu Season Hotspots
What you need to know:
- In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s more important than ever to do everything possible to reduce the spread of respiratory illnesses like the flu.
- To prepare for the 2020 flu season, identify locations where the virus is likely to spread and strengthen the cleaning practices and protocols in those areas.
- Here are the major flu-spreading hotspots to be aware of.
Flu season is taking on a whole new significance this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Experts have warned that a rise in influenza (flu) cases may derail the progress made in bringing down the coronavirus infection rate, causing a so-called “twindemic” of widespread outbreaks.
For business owners, it’s more important than ever to do everything possible to reduce the spread of respiratory illnesses like the flu, both for the safety of employees and staff and for the health of their businesses. The workplace has long been one of the easiest places to get sick, and illnesses cost U.S. companies around $530 billion in lost productivity and over $10 billion in healthcare costs each year. The flu virus in particular costs the American economy about $10.4 billion annually.
The flu spreads through person-to-person contact, mainly via droplets made when people with the flu cough, sneeze or talk. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly inhaled into the lungs. A person may also contract the flu by touching a surface or object that has the flu virus on it (the virus can survive on hard surfaces for up to 48 hours) and then touching their mouth, nose or eyes.
What can the public and businesses do to prepare for the 2020 flu season as it converges with the COVID-19 outbreak? It starts with identifying hotspot locations where the virus is likely to spread and strengthening the cleaning practices and protocols in those areas.
Major Flu Hotspots
Day Care Centers/Preschools
The No. 1 factor that makes a place high risk for the flu is the number of infected people present. That means that day care centers and preschools, which are packed with sickness-prone children, present endless opportunities for passing around the flu and other viruses during flu season. The most common day care surfaces that must be sanitized often include tabletops, toys, chairs, door handles and floors.
The many surfaces, nooks and crannies found on an airplane are prime targets for lingering viruses. Seats, seatbelts, tray tables, armrests, windows, bathrooms and overhead compartment handles should all be disinfected regularly to prevent the spread of infection among passengers and crew.
By their nature, restaurants involve getting groups of people together in one room, and that’s a recipe for the spread of illness. Add to that the fact that restaurant staff members are handling food, and it’s easy to see why restaurants are one of the biggest hotspots for the transmission of illnesses. To keep customers safe, staff should ensure that surfaces such as door handles, menus, dishes, glassware, utensils, tabletops, booths, seats and bathrooms are sanitized regularly.
Grocery stores contain hundreds of items and surfaces that can harbor viruses and bacteria, and can put customers and employees in close contact with others who may be carrying the flu. Just think about how many people touch a single shopping cart during a typical day, for example. Grocery staff should ensure that shopping carts or baskets, store products and checkout areas are cleaned often, and that shoppers have ready access to hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes for carts and baskets.
While cabs and ride-sharing services might seem more sanitary than taking public transportation, there’s still a risk of catching a virus from the driver, other passengers or from surfaces that have been touched by an infected person. Door handles, consoles, seats, seatbacks, cup holders and armrests should all be sanitized often to prevent illnesses from spreading.
Offices are one of the biggest culprits when it comes to the spread of illnesses like influenza and COVID-19. When hundreds or even thousands of people come and go from the same building day after day, viruses and other illnesses are guaranteed to go around. The shared spaces and high interaction with shared surfaces in offices increase the number of microbes on surfaces and in the air.
Office managers and business owners who are eager to reopen their physical office spaces should ensure that keyboards, mouses, break rooms, conference tables, desks, computers, walls, elevators, cubical dividers and door handles are all regularly sanitized for the safety of their employees.
Shared exercise equipment, heavy breathing, sweaty people and dirty surfaces all make gyms hotspots for the spread of illnesses. To reopen safely during the pandemic and flu season, gym managers and staff need to ensure that door handles, reception areas, equipment, stairs, windows, walls, floors, saunas and swimming pools are cleaned thoroughly and often.
Although safe physical distancing is possible in most shared public spaces, that’s not the case in elevators. No matter what building you’re in or even if you don’t touch the buttons, entering an elevator often puts you near others who may be carrying the flu virus. Buttons, railings, walls and floors should all undergo rigorous cleaning protocols to lower the risk of illness transmission between elevator passengers.
Ensure Round-The-Clock Disinfection With SurfaceWise2™
Although regular cleaning and disinfecting are important to keep the flu from spreading in public places, they’re momentary solutions to a continuous problem. In fact, it only takes a surface about 30 minutes to become reinfected by viruses and bacteria after it’s been sanitized.
Application of our SurfaceWise2 product, however, ensures that every space — and every surface in those spaces — has been treated to continuously kill 99.9% of viruses and bacteria so you can continue operating your business efficiently and safely. Our Always-On™ antiviral surface coating is the first and only EPA-approved product of its type to offer long-lasting protection against viruses and bacteria, including influenza and coronavirus.
A single application of SurfaceWise2 provides months of protection, even under repeated use of disinfectants or other cleaning products. SurfaceWise2 can be applied to and is effective on virtually any surface, and comprehensive application training for your teams is available.