Cleaning & Maintenance Management Online

JanSan pitches in to wipe out swine flu

December 2, 2009
Whether your facility has been impacted directly by the H1N1 influenza A (swine flu) virus or not, concern most definitely has been elevated.
From reports featured in the CM e-News Daily throughout 2009, we can see that many cleaning professionals have in fact been impacted and need solutions to ease frustration, angst, cross contamination concerns and overall judgment.
"The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that as much as 40 percent of the workforce, in a worst case scenario, might be unable to work at the peak of the pandemic due to the need for many healthy adults to stay home and care for an ill family member and advises that individuals should have steps in place should a workplace close down or a situation arise," recently reported a newsletter from CBN Building Maintenance.
Furthermore, according to www.issa.com, "The U.S. Presidential Advisory Panel reported August 7 that the H1N1 virus, commonly known as swine flu, could infect between 30 and 50 percent of the American population and could lead to 90,000 deaths this fall and winter."
In many situations, swine flu concerns have been met with extensive cleaning, including strategic disinfection.
However, short-term thinking can lead to long-term problems and, therefore, a comprehensive plan and program must be implemented. In today''s lead article, we''d like to start with the basics and offer several industry solutions for the industry to follow as a guide in the fight against infection control, especially against swine flu. In tomorrow''s lead article, we will share survey results and peer reaction to this latest threat. Back To Basics Let''s first start by looking at some facts regarding H1N1. According to http://www.stopgerms.org, "H1N1 flu is a respiratory disease caused by Type-A influenza viruses. Like all influenza viruses, flu viruses change constantly. A new strain of influenza A (H1N1) virus that is a mix of swine, human and/or avian influenza viruses has recently been reported that is contagious and spreading from human to human." The outbreak, which was first recognized in March 2009, specifically in Mexico, immediately put health officials on high alert. In previous years, avian flu, severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and other resistant, widespread threats surfaced, many of which were answered by inadequate protocol. Additionally, the ability for H1N1 to spread via traditional means, such as sneezing, also concerned many officials. Stopgerms.org added: "Human-to-human transmission can occur through coughing or sneezing of people infected with the influenza virus. People may become infected by touching something with flu viruses on it and then touching their mouth or nose. People with H1N1 influenza virus infection should be considered potentially contagious as long as they are symptomatic and possibly for up to seven days following illness onset. Children, especially younger children, might potentially be contagious for longer periods." Industry Solutions As mentioned, cross contamination and infection can occur when a healthy individual touches a contaminated surface. Therefore, effective cleaning is needed to curb the threat. Below are some common practices to follow in order to lower risk in your facility:

§ Encourage building occupants to wash their hands according to CDC specifications while remembering that, in the event soap and water are not present, alcohol-based and anti-bacterial hand cleaners can also prove to be effective

§ Ask infected employees or those suspected of infection to stay home until advised by a doctor

§ Increase signage and training

§ Target common touch points, such as door knobs, phones, elevator buttons, computer accessories, counters, handles, desktops, etc.

§ Utilize appropriately labeled chemicals

§ Used advanced equipment, such as high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filtered vacuums.

Be sure to thoroughly read product labels and, if you are uncertain, consultant a local JanSan distributor.
Another valuable resource is ISSA''s Pandemic Planning Toolkit.
Our industry''s leading association offers a wide variety of resources for anyone concerned with a pandemic, including swine flu.
Included in ISSA''s online toolkit are: Library; Multimedia; Cleaning Tips; Tools; and Links.
We pick up the discussion tomorrow with insight into what your peers are doing to fight the risk.