WILMINGTON, Mass. () - It's not possible to predict what this flu season will be like. The timing, severity, and length of the season vary year to year. But you can predict that the flu will spread. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), flu activity most commonly peaks in the U.S. between December and February. However, seasonal flu activity can begin as early as October and continue to occur as late as May.
The CDC recommends getting a vaccine each year to help prevent the flu, but here are some of its recommended everyday preventive actions that can help you slow the spread of germs that can cause many different illnesses and offer some protection against the flu.
- Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. Germs spread this way.
- Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that may be contaminated with germs like the flu.
At work, routinely clean frequently touched objects and surfaces, including doorknobs, keyboards, and phones, to help remove germs. Also, make sure your workplace has an adequate supply of tissues, soap, paper towels, alcohol-based hand rubs, and disposable wipes.
"This is the time of year when our facility service programs see a marked increase in demand for alcohol-based hand sanitizers such as Purell®, anti-bacterial hand soaps, surface cleaning products, hands-free soap and paper dispensers, and touch-free faucets and flushers," said Adam Soreff, director of marketing and communications at UniFirst Corporation, a leading provider of work uniforms and facility service products to businesses throughout the U.S. and Canada. "We advise all of our representatives to pay extra attention to the restocking of hand soaps, sanitizers, and paper towels, and to discuss with their customers the need to remain vigilant about facility cleanliness, and health and safety concerns."
What can employers do to promote improved employee hygiene? Employers should educate employees about the importance of regular hand washing. Additionally, they should provide hand sanitizer dispensers and/or wipes where soap and water are unavailable. Alcohol-based gel and foam sanitizers are effective at killing viruses that cause both common colds and the flu (these products should contain 60% to 95% ethanol or isopropanol).
Many employers turn to facility service providers, like UniFirst, to ensure ancillary products are always well stocked and readily available. "Our business customers find that just having Purell sanitizer and wipes available creates positive impressions with their customers," added Soreff. "Customers are appreciative that these places of business are committed to creating and maintaining cleaner and healthier environments. Comprehensive facility service programs go even further and can play a large role in the battle against the spread of seasonal illnesses."
Headquartered in Wilmington, Mass., UniFirst Corporation (NYSE: UNF) is a North American leader in the supply and servicing of uniform and workwear programs, as well as the delivery of facility service programs. Together with its subsidiaries, the company also provides first aid and safety products, and manages specialized garment programs for the cleanroom and nuclear industries. UniFirst manufactures its own branded workwear, protective clothing, and floorcare products, and with over 225 service locations, 275,000 customer locations, and 11,500 employee Team Partners, the company outfits more than 1.5 million workers each business day. For more information, contact UniFirst at 800.455.7654 or visit www.unifirst.com.