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Tis the Season for Influenza

By Dianna Steinbach | February 9, 2018 << Back to Articles

This year the United States battling the worst influenza (flu) outbreak in the past decade. Cleaning-industry professionals have an opportunity to partner with customers and help them develop or review comprehensive outbreak prevention plans that will reduce the risk of cross-contamination.

In order to properly identify and quickly manage a potential outbreak, cleaning departments must be trained on how disease spreads and how germs are controlled. To help deliver the message, consider these tips and procedures you can expand on.

Review proper techniques. It is important to use proper cleaning chemicals and sanitizers that are effective against the pathogen you’re concerned about. However, if cleaning staffs do not allow chemicals to dwell on a surface for the required length of time, the solution is not effective. Review the “why” behind the time needed for chemicals to work and the importance of fully removing all solution to rid areas of germs and bio matter they feed on. Additionally, it is important to note that not all chemicals are appropriate for all surfaces; some may damage sensitive materials if not used properly. Review manufacturer recommendations for sensitive or porous surfaces―as well as chemical instructions―before attempting to expand their use.

Systematically clean and sanitize common areas. There are many frequently touched surfaces where germs can be passed from person to person (e.g., door handles, elevator buttons, check-in desks, computer keys, phones, railings, etc.). Make a checklist of high-touch areas and create a higher-frequency cleaning plan to institute during flu season. The physical removal of organic soil is just as important as sanitization because germs feed on bio matter, which extends their life and leads to more contact. Timing also is important. Carefully plan increased cleaning around high-traffic times to best reduce cross-contamination and increase the visibility of health protection efforts, yet avoid facility activity disruption.

As cleaning-industry professionals, we have a unique opportunity to reinforce the fact that cleaning is an investment in public health―not only during flu season but throughout the year. Help your customers reduce absenteeism and improve productivity to bolster their bottom lines in 2018 and beyond.


Dianna Steinbach is ISSA's director of Europe, Middle East, Africa, and Oceania. She can be reached at

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