It's been over 100 years since the last major pandemic swept the world, forcing protective measures and human behavior changes to curb the spread. The COVID-19 pandemic continues to bring tragedy and changes to our everyday lives.
The COVID-19 pandemic has shone a bright light on the importance of handwashing often and adequately. With the pandemic still in full swing and rolling into cold and flu season, washing your hands frequently is still the most effective way to prevent the transmission of infections.
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.
Hands down! When it comes to fighting the spread of illness, hand washing is the most important thing you can do to keep you and your family safe. It's a simple enough concept, but did you know there is a wrong way to do it? There’s no better time than the present to brush up on how and when to wash your hands.
As the ultimate champions of a safe and healthy workplace, Safetec wants to help everyone stay healthy in the office. Whether you are currently in an office environment or preparing to reopen, let’s cover the basics of maintaining a sanitary workspace during COVID-19 and beyond.
With 45,171 confirmed cases and the death toll rising over 1,100, the virus recently named COVID-19, which originated in Wuhan, China continues to be a growing concern globally. China recorded a new daily record of 97 deaths, among the deaths included the first U.S citizen. In Japan, health officials have placed a 14-day quarantine on the Diamond Cruise ship carrying over 3,000 people. Officials confirm over 130 cases of COVID-19 were found aboard the vessel and are continuing to test individuals exhibiting any symptoms. Here in the United States, there are 13 confirmed cases of the virus.
In addition to monitoring the outbreak of COVID-19, health officials are monitoring flu activity in the United States. The flu has swept through hospitals across the nation. This season ramps up to be one of the worst in history.
The flu season began early with the Influenza B as the predominant strain of the virus. Typically Influenza B is the dominant strain in the spring during the second half of flu season. Unfortunately, this strain can harm children more than the Influenza A strain, with 78 pediatrics deaths reported by the CDC for the season so far.
This season's flu shot might be less effective because of the unexpected Influenza B cases. The flu shot is created every year by experts who try to predict the dominant strains for the season. Since this year was an unexpected strain, the vaccine might not protect as well. The flu shot is still an essential part of illness prevention even on years that it does not perform as well, but this emphasizes the additional need for hand hygiene.
While the rise of COVID-19 across the globe has become a Public Health Emergency of international concern, the flu still poses an immediate threat to the United States. So far this season, there have been at least 22 million flu cases, 210,000 hospitalizations, and 12,000 deaths. These numbers confirm the necessity for people to be vigilant about avoiding these respiratory illnesses.
The recommendations for preventing respiratory diseases like the flu and COVID-19 include maintaining proper hand hygiene by frequently washing with soap and water as well as using alcohol-based hand sanitizer when soap and water are unavailable. It is also essential to regularly disinfect surfaces in high traffic areas with a surface disinfectant to prevent viruses from spreading.
Flu season has arrived in the US, and it is one of the most severe outbreaks in recent history. This year the dominant strain is the Influenza B strain named Victoria, and health experts are saying this could be one of the most severe flu seasons in decades. The Victoria/B strain is especially harmful towards children, and the shot is only 58% effective against this strain. These numbers are especially scary for parents whose kids are in environments like schools where germs spread rapidly. The flu has a pretty quick incubation period with an average time to symptoms of two days.
Flu season is here, and with it comes people who are unaware that their hand hygiene habits may not protect them from the influenza virus. This year the virus has been extraordinarily volatile, and deaths have increased by 65%. So far, there have been a reported 9.7 million people infected with a strain of uncommon Influenza B, a reported 87,000 have been hospitalized, and 4,800 have died. The strain is usually most common in children ages 0-4, and it hits them the hardest. Nevertheless, this year Influenza B is prevalent in most other age groups. According to the CDC, the hospitalization rate is 14.6 per 100,000 people. This strain of flu is unusual this time of year and a mismatch for the strains protected by the influenza vaccine. The CDC says that if a child is exposed to the current Victoria/B strain, there is only a 58% chance the vaccine will be effective. Hence, with a sub-par vaccine, it is crucial to maintain proper infection control techniques to minimize your risk of infection.
The 2019-2020 flu season in the United States has been off to a fast and hard-hitting start with 6.4 million cases of Influenza already and 2,900 deaths from influenza. This season has been particularly strange since the dominant strain is Influenza B this season. Influenza B usually does not create large outbreaks like this is doing so it is very different from what anyone could’ve anticipated.
How many times have you felt sick, but came into work anyway because you feared you would anger your boss or let your co-workers down. Because of actions like this and the high traffic of a work environment, offices become breeding grounds for the flu and numerous other viruses. Let’s examine where these germs pop up and how to keep your workplace flu-free during the next few months.