The Flu Virus and Your Facility: What You Need to Know

As we are well into the new year, we have reached the peak of flu season. In fact, on February 1, the CDC announced that flu activity has increased across the country and that there have been numerous reports of severe illness. With everyone back at work and school, facilities become a dangerous place for the spread of germs and viruses. To help you stay on top of this virus throughout the remainder of flu season, here are some facts you need to know:

Q: How does the flu spread?

A: People can get the flu by coming in contact with a surface or person that already has the flu virus. Another way the virus spreads is through bodily fluids, such as saliva droplets from coughing, sneezing, or talking.

 

Q: How long can the flu virus live on a surface?

A: Studies have shown that the flu virus can live on surfaces between two and eight hours. In addition, the Mayo Clinic reports that germs remain active longer on stainless steel, plastic, and other hard surfaces compared with fabrics and softer surfaces.

 

Q: Who is at risk during flu season?

A: Everyone. Depending on what flu viruses are spreading, how much vaccine one has in their system, and how the flu is handled within their surroundings, each person is at risk.

 

Q: What kills the flu virus?

A: The flu virus can be destroyed by heat, as well as several chemical germicides, including chlorine, hydrogen peroxide, detergents (soap), iodine-based antiseptics, and alcohol. Keep in mind these are effective against the flu virus only when used in proper concentrations for a sufficient length of time.

 

Q: How can you prevent the spread of the flu virus?

A: The CDC offers these tips to stop the spread of germs in the workplace:

  • Routinely clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that are frequently touched, such as countertops, doorknobs, faucet handles, and phones
  • Wear a mask and gloves when cleaning to create a barrier between yourself and potentially infected areas
  • Make available adequate supplies, such as general EPA-registered cleaning products, gloves, disinfecting wipes, and no-touch trash cans
  • Wash your hands frequently with soap and water
  • Avoid touching your eyes or nose to prevent the spread of germs, and cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when coughing or sneezing

 

Knowing these facts can make a difference in the health and safety of your workplace. For more information about the flu, read GCA Services Group’s post on Four Common Myths about the Flu. To learn how GCA can help protect your facility from the spread of the flu virus, contact us at info@gcaservices.com.