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Flu prevention via proper cleaning strategies

Posted by TheWorxHub | Monday, January 04, 2016

There it is. The first sneeze of the season. As an assisted living community manager, just the thought of flu season is enough to make your mind - and nose - run with worry. However you're right to do so, as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that more than 200,000 people are hospitalized every year due to Influenza complications, and unfortunately, about 36,000 of these patients will die. But the flu won't stop there. The CDC also noted that while the flu runs rampant through a community, immune systems are invariably weakened and therefore more likely to pick up other health problems that can lead to serious issues as well. The transmission of germs from one person to another is especially easy in assisted living communities as interaction is limited to a small pool of people, and therefore vulnerable to any environmental changes, like germs visitors may bring in. 

By now you are probably asking yourself, what can I do to prevent my residents from becoming part of these statistics? 

While every resident should be vaccinated to help prevent the flu from entering your building in the first place, there are still a number of cleaning techniques you can use to double up on your prevention efforts:

Start with the front door

While a squirt of hand sanitizer is a good start, it's just that- a start. Unfortunately, you should have your staff discourage any friends of family from visiting residents when they're experiencing flu-like symptoms. Proactively preventing germs from entering the building helps keep the the air clean for residents. 

Leave no surface un-sanitized

Make a check-list of all the objects your residents use on a daily basis. Everything from television remotes, salt and pepper shakers and computer keyboards, down to the doorknobs of your building should receive a thorough disinfectant process at least once a day. 

Vacuum frequently

Men's Health Magazine interviewed Philip Tierno Jr., Ph.D, a microbiologist and immunologist at New York University Langone Medical Center, who shared some shocking facts about rugs. He informed the magazine that rugs contain about 200,000 bacteria per square inch. Tierno then went on to point out that rugs are 4,000 times dirtier than an average toilet seat. The magazine suggested frequently vacuuming rugs and steaming floors to help remove the number of germs that might have been tracked in from outside. 

Wash used towels and linens 

Building Services Management Magazine recently published a report conducted by Merry Maids and ServiceMaster Clean on cleaning tips, reporting that germs love to live in used towels and bed sheets. While many believe that reusing towels, or even sharing with others is a good, economical process, it's actually a good, economical process to spread germs to each other. So while staff members should be vigilant about washing towels and linens, they should also be discouraging any sharing of them as well. 

While you're at it, wash the washing machine

Believe it or not, the very machine that you depend on to get your clothes clean can actually turn around and contaminate your laundry as well. Using hot water is one good way to get rid of germs, however BSM also recommended running a cycle of vinegar through your machine at least once a month to zap out germs.