Schools are back in full swing, temperatures are dropping, and people are getting flu shots. This means cold and flu season has started.
Schools and public spaces are guilty of spreading several viruses and bacteria in addition to COVID-19. This article will address some of the different diseases we can contract and how to stop the spread of all of them.
COVID, Flu, Colds, Bacteria, Oh My!
In the United States alone, COVID-19 is responsible for 675,000 deaths in the U.S. alone.1 Influenza kills about 36,000 people each year.2 Foodborne pathogens (like Listeria), systemic infections (e.g. MRSA), and even the common cold (usually a rhinovirus) make millions of people miserable each year and cause some fatalities.
The list of possible COVID-19 symptoms seems to expand regularly. It is always wise to get tested if you feel you might be infected with this novel virus. Common symptoms that COVID-19 and flu share include fever, cough, difficulty breathing, and fatigue.6 Cold symptoms typically include sore throat, runny nose, coughing, sneezing, headaches, and body aches.7
How Do We Stop Getting Sick?
After touching public surfaces, be sure not to touch your face or open wounds until after you’ve sanitized your hands. Wash your hands regularly with products like Fresh Foam Disinfectant Hand Soap and use a hand sanitizer like one of the two listed below when hand washing is not practical.3 This will help keep you safe from COVID-19, influenza, cold viruses, and systemic infections like Staph.
- Bac-Off is an FDA-regulated product and a hand sanitizer with 0.13% benzalkonium chloride as the active ingredient.
- Bac-San is an FDA-regulated product and a hand sanitizer with 70% ethyl alcohol as the active ingredient.
- Both products work with touch-free wall-mounted dispensers or dispenser stands.
Disinfect touchpoints in your business and home regularly. While data shows that COVID-19 is mostly transmitted in the air, it can still exist on surfaces.4 Influenza viruses will live for 8 to 48 hours on typical household surfaces.5 Bacteria that cause infections like MRSA, fungi that cause athlete’s foot, and many other contaminants are primarily transmitted via physical contact with infected surfaces. Disinfect all surfaces with EPA-registered products like Security Cleaner and Disinfectant or One Step Quaternary Cleaner and Disinfectant to keep from transmitting via this vector.
The USDA estimates 48 million cases of foodborne illness occur in the US each year. These illnesses lead to about 130,000 hospitalizations and 3,000 deaths per year.8 Foodborne infections are obviously transmitted via food and surfaces that the food touches. Regularly sanitize food contact and nearby surfaces with a product like Heads Up 10 or Security Floor® Sanitizer. Be sure to cook food at the proper temperature and always sanitize utensils and equipment when switching between uncooked and cooked food. QDII Sanitizing Wipes are great for quick sanitizing jobs like this. One of the primary uses of QDII Sanitizer is as a third sink sanitizer or leave-on sanitizer for food contact surfaces. Spray it on the surface and consider it sanitized in 10-minutes. There’s no need to rinse or wipe the sanitizer away.
Summary: COVID-19 has dominated the news and is a serious threat to our lives. Other viruses, bacteria, funguses, and more are still in our environment and can make our lives miserable if not controlled. Use hand and surface sanitizers to stop the spread of all these bad actors.
1 COVID Data Tracker; https://covid.cdc.gov/covid-data-tracker/#datatracker-home; September 22, 2021.
2 Disease Burden of Influenza; https://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/burden/index.html; June 11, 2021.
3 Safely Using Hand Sanitizer; https://www.fda.gov/consumers/consumer-updates/safely-using-hand-sanitizer; May 20, 2021.
4 Indoor Air and Coronavirus; https://www.epa.gov/coronavirus/indoor-air-and-coronavirus-covid-19; August 19, 2021.
5 The survival of influenza A(H1N1)pdm09 virus on 4 household surfaces; https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24679569/; April 2014.
6 Similarities and Differences between Flu and COVID-19; https://www.cdc.gov/flu/symptoms/flu-vs-covid19.htm; June 7, 2021.
7 Common Cold; https://www.cdc.gov/dotw/common-cold/index.html; December 30, 2020.
8 Quantifying the Impacts of Foodborne Illnesses; https://www.ers.usda.gov/amber-waves/2015/september/quantifying-the-impacts-of-foodborne-illnesses/; September 8, 2015.