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.
The flu, or influenza, is a highly contagious respiratory virus caused by one of three different virus types: influenza A, B, or C. The primary way illnesses like colds and the flu spread from person to person is through the droplets that sick people expel when they cough and sneeze. You can also get the flu by exposure to saliva passed by contact, such as kissing or sharing eating utensils. Sometimes people get the flu because they touch an object or surface with flu virus on it, and then touch their eyes, nose, or mouth.
The air is getting colder; the leaves are changing color; the faint smell of pumpkin spice is in the air.
Fall is practically here! But unlike autumns past, safety in the Fall of 2020 will have less to do with witches, ghosts, and ghouls and more to do with an invisible threat: COVID-19, the flu, and the common cold (oh my!). Since Fall is a time of transition, now is the perfect time to transform into a creature of habit and fall into patterns that keep you safe and healthy through all four seasons.
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.
To fully appreciate the access to vaccines and understand the importance of infection control as we know it today, we need to take a trip back in time, to 1861, when Louis Pasteur published his germ theory, which proved that bacteria caused diseases. Pasteur's work was then expanded upon by Robert Koch, who began to isolate the specific bacteria that caused certain diseases, such as TB and cholera. Before the development of the germ theory, people did not understand the need for hygiene and sterilization. Illnesses spread, unintentionally, through contamination.
As summer approaches and most cities begin to reopen businesses, there is a shift in our collective spirits. While we are hoping to be on the other side of the Coronavirus pandemic, we need to prepare mentally and physically for a second wave. The biggest takeaway from the COVID-19 pandemic: the importance of having your facility (and home) equipped with the correct health and safety supplies for any emergency. With no clear end in sight, it is important now more than ever that employers make emergency preparedness a critical part of everyday business.
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.