Prepare your facility for flu season

August 29, 2018
prevent the flu infographic

Download a printable poster here.

When the influenza virus hits the United States each year, it hits hard. The numbers are staggering: The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports 5-20% of Americans, on average, contract the flu each year.1 With it, there are approximately 200,000 flu-based hospitalizations, 31.4 million outpatient visits and thousands of deaths. Given the high numbers of affected individuals, this virus results in an estimated $10.4 billion in medical costs and $16.3 billion in lost wages. This is especially important in the healthcare industry, where workers are more susceptible to contracting the flu and missing work.

Flu Facts and Symptoms

February is the height of the flu season, followed by December, January, and March. However, there have been outbreaks as early as October. Anyone can catch the flu, and most healthy adults have symptoms that last 5-7 days.

The most common flu symptoms include headaches, fever, chills, fatigue, and body aches.2 These symptoms should be a signal to stay home to rest and not run the risk of infecting others. While this is an important prevention tip, it is possible to contract the flu if you’ve been exposed to someone who has been infected 24 hours before their symptoms set in, and 24 hours after their fever breaks.3

According to the CDC, the flu virus is spread mainly by tiny droplets that are dispersed by coughs, sneezes, and even while talking. The flu not only spreads from person to person but also from touching a surface on which the tiny droplets have landed. Therefore, it is important to sanitize the entire environment where healthcare services are provided, including walls and ceilings. The SaniGuard Antimicrobial Fogger sanitizes an entire room - walls, ceiling, and floor in just 15 minutes.

Healthcare facilities can help prevent flu outbreaks by offering free flu vaccinations. According to the CDC, vaccination is the best solution to prevent the flu.4 In 2012-2013 the vaccine helped prevent an estimated 6.6 million flu-related illnesses. In addition to the vaccine, there are simple measures that can be taken to help prevent the spread of the flu:

  • Cover the mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing
  • Wash your hands with antimicrobial soap for at least 20 seconds throughout the day
  • Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth
  • Avoid contact with sick people
  • Stay home 24 hours after your fever is gone except to get medical care
  • Use hand sanitizer
  • Wear masks and gloves to help prevent the spread of germs
  • Clean and disinfect surfaces contaminated with germs with products such as the SaniGuard Surface Spray and sanitizing wipes.

AliMed is here to help with all of your infection control needs. Learn more at https://www.alimed.com/infection-control/.

References

  1. https://www.cdcfoundation.org/businesspulse/flu-prevention-infographic
  2. https://www.cdc.gov/flu/keyfacts.htm
  3. http://www.guidewellemergency.com/file/cold-flu-season-infographic.jpg
  4. https://www.cdc.gov/flu/keyfacts.htm