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Cold & Flu 101: How to Minimize the Spread of Germs in Your Facility


NATIONAL REPORT—Minimizing the spread of germs should be top-of-mind for facility managers, especially this time of year. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that up to 11 percent of the U.S. comes down with the flu each year. Businesses can help facility occupants stay safe from infections, like influenza or the common cold, by taking the time to analyze and enhance their cleaning programs.

Upticks in infections lead to increased absences in schools, offices and other businesses, resulting in lost productivity. Outbreaks can also negatively affect the public’s perception of a business. Implementing cleaning and hygiene best practices can help minimize the spread of infection while showing facility occupants you care about their well-being.

Necessary Precautions for Facility Success

It’s important to understand how the flu spreads. It’s believed that the virus spreads when an infected person disperses droplets via cough, sneeze or talking. If someone is nearby, within about six feet, and injects the droplets or touches a surface with the live virus, it can cause that person to become sick with the flu. Encourage building occupants to take hygiene precautions by posting reminders to wash hands and cover mouths when sneezing or coughing.

When it comes to creating a healthy environment, it’s important to clean and disinfect regularly. As cleaning tends to ramp up during cold and flu season, ensure your cleaning team understands the differences between cleaning, sanitizing and disinfecting—and when to perform each. Cleaning involves removing soil, sanitizing reduces the remaining germs on a surface and disinfecting kills germs. It is also important to adhere to manufacturer suggested cleaning chemical kill times to ensure the greatest impact.

Using cleaning chemicals that contain high amounts of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) has been found to harm indoor air quality (IAQ). Studies have found some of the highest percentages of VOCs in “green products.” This is due to false environmental claims, otherwise known as greenwashing. Maintaining facilities with green cleaning chemicals and tools that have been certified by third parties, such as UL Ecologo and Green Seal, can help ensure that common allergens found in a facility are removed without negatively impacting IAQ.

Gear Up Your Team

Minimize the spread of infections by providing your cleaning team with high-quality cleaning tools that work effectively to help reduce the spread of germs. Using cleaning chemicals and tools incorrectly can damage your facility or pose a health and safety hazard to employees. It is crucial to ensure that cleaning personnel are properly trained. It’s also important to regularly restock cleaning chemicals and equipment. Using outdated cleaning chemicals and equipment reduces the effectiveness in fighting off the spread of infections.

Preventing Infections Year-Round

Cold and flu season is fast approaching. Get ahead by reevaluating your facility’s efforts to minimize the spread of infections. Revamp your facility’s cleaning program and remind employees and facility occupants of the importance of personal hygiene in creating a safe and clean environment for all.

About the Author

Carlos Albir Jr. is Vice President of Operations at ABCO Cleaning Products, a leader in sustainable cleaning tools. ABCO is a family-owned, Certified Minority Business Enterprise with Green Seal and UL Solutions-certified products, headquartered in Miami. For more information, visit www.abcoproducts.com.