As we inch closer to cold and flu season in the United States, the collision of COVID-19 and the flu seems inevitable. How severe the flu / COVID-19 season will be is still hotly debated. On the one hand, you have nearly 1 million flu-related hospitalizations during a non-pandemic year. On the other hand, the preventative measures and changes in behavior used to fight COVID-19 could help lessen the seasonal flu's impact.
One thing is clear, COVID-19 will remain circulating in the population until there is a vaccine, and flu season is only a few short months away. The overlap of the flu and COVID-19 has some epidemiologists and policymakers concerned as this combination could precipitate a crisis unlike any other. Yet another future might be possible as the flu and COVID-19 paths cross other forecasters say. The measures already adopted to flatten the curve of COVID-19, such as handwashing, mask-wearing, and social distancing could lessen the flu's impact.
Either way, an old saying comes to mind: "Before anything else, preparation is the key to success"- Alexander Graham Bell. Bell died in 1922, but his message is as relevant as ever; if you do not prepare for the 2020-2021 cold and flu season now, you are inviting disaster.
How to Prepare
The seasonal flu and COVID-19 are transmitted, mostly by respiratory droplets, so the same prevention strategies can be used. While we don't yet have a vaccine for COVID-19, we have a flu vaccine. This year is more important than ever to get a flu shot. With the COVID-19 social distancing guidelines, getting a flu vaccine might be as easy as a drive-through clinic. This single act could save lives.
Social distancing, washing your hands, wearing a mask, and self-isolation are the keys to slowing down the COVID-19 train as it heads for flu season. Fortunately, those same behaviors will slow the spread of the flu. With states opening, we're getting a hint of our old lives back, but now is not the time to get complacent.
- Continue wearing your mask in public and in situations where social distancing is difficult or impossible.
- Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Wash your hands often.
- Use hand sanitizer when soap and water are not readily available.
- Stay home and self-isolate when you feel ill.
- Keep the windows open when you can. Winter usually means prolonged time indoors. Try to keep fresh air circulating.
In keeping with the most current guidelines, employers and business owners should prepare to continue cleaning and employee screening procedures.
- Use an EPA registered disinfectant effective against SARS-CoV-2, the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19 to clean high touch surfaces.
- Disinfect surfaces frequently, taking extra caution in reading the directions on the label.
- Employ social distancing measures.
- Provide hand sanitizer for employee use when soap and water are not readily available.
- Limit the number of customers or visitors entering your facility.
Some of the above measures will be nearly impossible if you do not prepare the right products and the right amount. As we all experienced at the start of COVID-19, supply could not keep up with demand, especially with hand sanitizer, disinfectant, and hand soap.
Supply and Demand
The supply chain is starting to even out, but that does not mean we are out of the woods. With schools reopening and the threat of cold and flu season, the demand will likely surge again.
- Stock up now. Put those orders into your suppliers, distributors, or manufacturers.
- Only use disinfectant or hand sanitizer from a trusted brand to avoid ingesting harmful chemicals.
- Try to determine how much soap, hand sanitizer, and disinfectant you will need to get through 2021 and order that amount.
- Be proactive, not reactive. Know that you will need to keep more supplies than you have in the previous years as an additional surge in demand could make securing hand soap, hand sanitizer and disinfectant products difficult, if possible at all.
Uncertainty for the future is the certainty we have in the COVID-19 pandemic. We can only control how well we prepare for the worst-case scenario and our responsibility to lessen COVID-19 and the flu spread.
A brand you can trust
Founded in 1992, Safetec of America has always been and will always be of America. Our products are USA made and manufactured in Buffalo, New York. Safetec continues to make significant investments in our FDA Regulated manufacturing facility, the machines we use to manufacture, and the people of Safetec to ensure the quality and strength of our products.