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Green Cleaning Services for Cold and Flu Season

by | Feb 10, 2017 | Clean Workplace Tips, Hiring a Commercial Cleaning Company

An experienced commercial cleaning service can help keep your staff and          customers healthy this cold and flu season. The weather is turning colder, and that means one thing–time to get ready for cold and flu season. Reported flu infections increased significantly over 2014-2015 when compared to the previous five seasons, as well hospitalizations and deaths. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC);
Compared with the previous five influenza seasons, the 2014-2015 season was moderately severe, with overall high levels of outpatient illness, high levels of hospitalization and a relatively high percentage of deaths attributed to pneumonia and influenza. The season was a severe one for people 65 years and older. The season was a relatively early in terms of timing, with influenza activity increasing through November and December, and peaking in late December.What You Should Know for the 2014-2015 Influenza Season
From a business perspective, especially for organizations paying high premiums to cover employee health care costs, the investment in a healthier office makes financial sense. A 2003 study published by the CDC reported that;
[sic]…annual influenza epidemics resulted in an average of 610,660 life-years lost (undiscounted), 3.1 million hospitalized days, and 31.4 million outpatient visits. Direct medical costs averaged $10.4 billion…[sic]… annually. Projected lost earnings due to illness and loss of life amounted to $16.3 billion…[sic]…annually. The total economic burden of annual influenza epidemics using projected statistical life values amounted to $87.1 billion -The annual impact of seasonal influenza in the US: Measuring disease burden and costs

Tips for Creative Office Workers

Like anything else, open office plans have their strong and weak points; heightened levels of stress being key among those. Creative office workers in open floor plans are exposed to a barrage of noise and distraction, as well as the personal hygiene issues of those out of their control. High-stress levels, when paired with the increased likelihood of someone coming into work sick, significantly increases the chances of the creative office worker falling ill, perhaps severely. According to the American Psychological Association;
[sic]…excessive chronic stress, which is constant and persists over an extended period of time, can be psychologically and physically debilitating. Unlike everyday stressors, which can be managed with healthy stress management behaviors, untreated chronic stress can result in serious health conditions including anxiety, insomnia, muscle pain, high blood pressure and a weakened immune system.Understanding Chronic Stress
To reduce stress levels;
  • Drink lots of water.
  • Eat fruits and vegetables high in Vitamin C.
  • Wash your hands with regular soap and warm water; avoid antibacterial soaps.
  • Keep a bottle of antibacterial hand sanitizer on you, just in case.
  • Avoid eating at your desk.
  • Make sure to sanitize your computer equipment and phones on a weekly basis, especially if you are sharing the equipment with someone else, and;
  • Make sure to get plenty of sleep.

A Brief Note on Sleep

Many hardworking entrepreneurs take pride in the number of hours they work and sleep–or don’t. A study conducted by the University of California – San Francisco discovered that individuals who received four or fewer hours of sleep per day were more prone to get a cold than regular smokers.
Short sleep was more important than any other factor in predicting subjects’ likelihood of catching cold…[sic]…It didn’t matter how old people were, their stress levels, their race, education or income. It didn’t matter if they were a smoker. With all those things taken into account, statistically sleep still carried the day.Short sleepers are 4 times more likely to catch a cold

Tips for Schools

Children are one of the highest-risk groups for infection and hospitalization, and schools provide a prime breeding ground for germs. The problem is severe enough that, in 2008, The Center for Law and the Public’s Health at Georgetown and Johns Hopkins Universities published a paper recommending to the CDC that schools, not only be closed for up to 12 weeks to combat the spread of infectious disease, but that schools be relocated a considerable distance apart to avoid transference.
Schools play a critical role in protecting the health of their students, staff, and the community from highly contagious, infectious diseases such as seasonal or pandemic influenza. Modeling and analyses conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and others suggest that community-wide school closures may mitigate the incidence of pandemic influenza, thereby reducing its impact on individuals, groups, healthcare providers, public health systems, and the economy. The public health premise, consistent with social distancing theories, is that timely closing of schools may limit the spread of influenza (or other communicable conditions). The efficacy of social distancing measures to reducing the morbidity and mortality of pandemic influenza has been shown historically. -Legal Preparedness for School Closures in Response to Pandemic Influenza and Other Emergenciesandnbsp;
To protect children and prevent the potential for widespread school closures, schools are advised to;
  • Send children home immediately when symptoms are observed–influenza can be infectious 24 hours before symptoms appear.
  • Encourage proper hand-washing, especially before eating.
  • Keep hand sanitizer at available stations throughout the classroom to sterilize hands after coughing or sneezing. andnbsp;Do not use as a substitute for soap and water to remove dirt and oil.
  • Use flat, color-coded microfiber mops to sanitize floors, a primary location for germ transfer, especially in classrooms and restrooms.
  • Sanitize all high-touch surfaces (desks, computers, light switches, and classroom sinks) daily.
  • Do not use chemical cleaners, especially antibacterial products, specifically those containing triclosan.

The Greenest of Cleans

Green cleaning services focus on three key areas;
  • An equivalent or better quality of clean (reduction/removal of dirt and germs) when compared to commonly used, toxic chemical alternatives.
  • The reduction of natural resource use (gas, water, and electricity) over conventional cleaning practices, and;
  • A significant decrease in operational costs.
Often, green cleaning services employ/recommends the use of hydrogen peroxide based cleaners over bleach or chlorine based products, as bleach cleaners have been shown to contribute to the potential for developing asthma, or other respiratory issues after prolonged exposure. Unfortunately, the recommended 3% solution of hydrogen peroxide is only effective against infectious disease if allowed to sit for a period of time, if not entirely evaporate. Combining microfiber cloths/mops (technically microbial) with hydrogen peroxide addresses that issue by drawing germs into the fibers and killing them with the disinfectant in the cloth instead of on the contaminated surface. With standard ventilation practices, the liquid will dry in less time, allowing for faster room re-entry, leaving an equivalently disinfected surface when compared to bleach/chlorine based cleaners without the associated hazards.

References

Takeaway

Cold and flu season present an enormous challenge to schools and businesses. Creative office workers or individuals employed in a work space with an open office design are at increased risk due to the associated higher stress levels typical in those environments. Schools are hot spots for the spread of germs and require ongoing sterilization to prevent outbreaks and closures; presenting an extra challenge given revelations regarding the dangerous side-effects of toxic chemical cleaners. School cleaning and office cleaning services are cost-effective enough to provide a great return on your investment while maintaining a cleaner and healthier environment.

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