Industry News Archive

Top Tips for Cold and Flu Prevention

14th January 2015 - European Cleaning Journal

It's typically challenging to make it through this time of year without catching a cold or the flu. Since there are approximately 200 viruses that can cause the common cold, millions of people are affected, usually several times throughout the year. Those with the flu can also infect others beginning between one and four days before their symptoms develop.

In addition to making people feel ill, cold and flu outbreaks can result in lost productivity and may negatively affect a business's reputation if these outbreaks occur frequently or on a large scale. Facilities can prepare for periods of heightened outbreaks by implementing cleaning and disinfection best practices. Doing so will keep staff, students, patients and guests safe and healthy and reduce unnecessary absences and lost revenue.

Hans de Ridder, global marketing director, fabric care, infection prevention and personal care at Sealed Air's Diversey Care, has compiled a list of infection prevention tips to reduce the spread of cold and flu.


Just as a person may look healthy but be sick, a surface can look clean but still house a significant amount of pathogens. A single sneeze alone can release 40,000 droplets, which can travel through the air and land on a variety of surfaces. Some pathogens can survive on surfaces for days, and even months, making the environment a risk in the transmission of cold, flu and many other illnesses. Pathogens can be transferred when a person contacts these dirty surfaces directly, or indirectly when someone touches a person who has these pathogens present on their hands.

The spread of flu is unpredictable so prevention and management must be considered a healthcare priority in preparing for the next high incidence flu season, with a particular focus on clinical risk groups such the elderly, very young and pregnant women. To reduce the spread of the cold and flu, facilities can practice and promote infection prevention tips, including:

Promote proper hand hygiene: 
Unfortunately, not everyone follows basic hand hygiene measures. Hands can easily spread germs from one person to another, or to other surfaces, so facilities should encourage everyone to get in the habit of regularly washing and sanitising hands. When hands are dirty, individuals should wash with hot water and soap or with an alcohol-based hand sanitiser if soap and water are not available.

Encourage influenza vaccinations: 
Flu cases typically spike in January and February. Although getting the influenza vaccine doesn't guarantee a person won't contract the flu, it provides protection against some cases. Providing or requiring employee vaccinations gives individuals a barrier against influenza viruses that match or are related to the viruses in the vaccine.

Educate staff on proper cleaning procedures: 
Facilities should ensure cleaning procedures are in place that detail what surfaces and equipment are to be cleaned and the order in which cleaning should occur. These procedures should also describe when to perform hand hygiene, when glove use is required, the cleaners, disinfectants and tools to use and the appropriate frequency of cleaning and disinfection.

During times such as flu season when illnesses are acquired and spread more frequently, it's recommended that facilities clean and disinfect more often and more thoroughly. This may require changing the traditional cleaning schedule to a more frequent cleaning schedule of all common areas or assigning additional employees to cleaning and disinfection tasks.

Clean and disinfect high-touch surfaces: 
Even if hand hygiene was more commonly practiced, there is still the risk that hands can become re-contaminated by touching contaminated surfaces. High-touch surfaces such as door knobs, handrails, elevator buttons, desks and countertops should be disinfected regularly or when visibly soiled. Employees should clean from high to low, from cleanest to dirtiest and from dry to wet and ensure that the disinfectant is left on the surface for the appropriate dwell time.

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CaterSafe Ireland

CaterSafe is an established, Irish owned company, offering the complete solution for all your cleaning, hygiene, laundry and janitorial needs. We supply a comprehensive range of reputable products at keen prices to meet all your cleaning and detergent needs.

Serving a wide range of customers in the following sectors: Hospitals & Nursing Homes, Schools & Colleges, Bars & Restaurants, Commercial and Institutional Catering, Hotels & Hospitality, OPL & Commercial Laundries.

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