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.
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.
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.
Washing your hands is an essential part of daily routines that can help to keep you safer from potentially harmful microorganisms. There are a wide range of problems that could arise if you do not frequently and adequately wash your hands throughout the day. You could be setting yourself up for various types of illnesses, could be putting other people around you at risk, as well as potentially leading to antibiotic resistance.
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.
For most people, it is easy to forget about the flu when scares about different diseases are plastered all over the news media. However, the flu remains one of the most deadly diseases to ravage our country every year. The flu generally doesn’t kill; it’s complications that arise that lead to death. Let’s dive in and take a look at how this illness can lead to death.
There are a couple of different strategies we can take to keep students and teachers healthy during the school year. These strategies may include frequent hand washing, proper vaccination, and cleaning and disinfecting surfaces that are commonly touched by everyone. By staying healthy, you are staying productive and engaged throughout the school year.