Preventing the Flu & RSV for Facilities
Every Fall, the flu season (influenza) arrives. It’s also common for outbreaks of Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) to coincide with flu season. However, this year we’re experiencing unprecedented increases in both flu and RSV cases, in addition to ongoing cases of Covid. This phenomenon is most likely a result of relaxed safety measures combined with lower immunities. Facilities across the nation are now fighting a “tripledemic” of respiratory viruses. It’s important to plan for the flu and RSV season and develop a protocol that works for your facility.
Flu and RSV Risks
The flu is highly contagious. Viruses are transmitted any number of ways but, even those that are primarily spread by close contact or airborne exposure are also transmitted through surfaces that have been contaminated by touch or by respiratory droplets. Keep these tips in mind when educating your staff and visitors:
- Flu virus can live 24 to 48 hours on hard surfaces and objects
- RSV can live on surfaces or objects for many hours and on unwashed hands for 30 minutes or more
- Cleaning staff regularly come in contact with contaminated surfaces and can inadvertently spread infection to other areas they clean
10 Steps to Preventing the Flu and RSV
Preventing the spread of respiratory viruses requires a comprehensive approach but, it’s important to remember that surface disinfection is as crucial as hand washing, avoiding close contact, covering nose/mouth when sneezing or coughing, and vaccinations. To help facilities protect staff and occupants from highly contagious respiratory illnesses, below are 10 steps that will help mitigate surface transmission.
- Per CDC guidelines, all surfaces should be cleaned before disinfecting.
- Focus on cleaning and disinfecting commonly touched surfaces and shared objects such as doorknobs, light switches, handles, countertops, toys, etc.
- Increase frequency of cleaning and disinfection practices during peak season
- Use disposable or single-use wipes in each area to avoid spreading contamination from surface to surface
- Leverage advanced electrostatic sprayer technologies for touchless disinfection that reaches every surface without risk of cross contamination. Ensure the chemical used is EPA approved for electrostatic application.
- Confirm cleaning products are EPA registered as effective against RSV, Influenza A, and Covid-19
- Look for a product that has multiple uses as a cleaner, sanitizer, and disinfectant to simplify processes, reduce margins for error, and cut costs
- Use a non-caustic chemical in the EPA’s lowest category for inhalation toxicity that also has a neutral pH and an HMIS rating of triple zero
- Many disinfectants are unsafe for food surfaces. Make sure to use an NSF D2 certified food contact surface safe sanitizer in dining rooms, cafeterias, and food preparation areas
- Enlist the advice of cleaning industry experts and partners who can provide customized protocols and training programs to maximize chances of success
Our goal is to make every kind of facility a healthier place to work and learn. EvaClean offers a complete infection prevention solution that fulfills all the necessary criteria to prevent surface transmission of respiratory viruses.