Flu Season Infection Control

5 Flu Hiding Spots You Shouldn’t Overlook

Flu season 2015-16 is fast approaching, and as the virus continues to evolve, so must our defenses.

While person-to-person contact is the most likely vehicle of transmission, it’s not the only possibility.

Human influenza viruses can live on surfaces for up to 8 hours, according to the CDC. That’s plenty of time for it to infect you, your patients, or your team members, especially in high traffic areas.

Bed rails, light switches, and doorknobs are among the most frequently touched surfaces in a patient room, per the CDC’s checklist. However, those infected with flu could be spreading the virus elsewhere throughout your healthcare facility.

Here are five perhaps less obvious places where flu might lurk.

Disinfectant containers: The convenient canisters we trust to dispense our disinfectant wipes are not immune from contaminants. Generally, one hand is required to grab a wipe, and another to hold the canister down. There’s potential for spreading pathogens. The good news is, spring-loaded dispensers eliminate the need for this awkward tug-of-war.

Pens: Behold, the tiny germ wand, bestowing upon anyone who holds it the power to acquire and share viruses and bacteria! Terrible plot for a fantasy film, right? Well, it’s not a movie. It’s (dun dun dunnn) … real life. Pens are gross. Unless they’re brand new, you don’t really know where they’ve been. Combination pen holder-cleaners are an effective way to disinfect them after every use.

Tablets: Many would agree that the portable touchscreen device is among humanity’s coolest achievements. Unfortunately, microorganisms probably would concur if they could. All that tapping and touching and swiping – it’s like a big, shiny playground for germs. Want to ruin their fun? There isn’t an app for that, but there are disposable tablet sleeves that protect from damaging liquids, chemicals, and cross-contamination.

Keyboards and mice:  Keyboards are basically germ condos. There are lots of cozy places for flu and other pathogens to live happily, waiting for a visit from your unsuspecting fingertips. To evict these unwanted guests, wash your keyboards and mice regularly. There are special waterproof keyboards and mice that stand up to powerful disinfectants.

Healthy looking people: This is perhaps flu’s sneakiest hiding place of all. Steering clear of coughers and sneezers is common sense. However, people with flu can be contagious a day before such symptoms develop and up to 5 to 7 days after becoming sick, according to the CDC. That’s just one of many reasons why it’s important to promote infection control among colleagues, patients, and visitors. Well-placed hygiene stations for adults and children encourage healthy habits and help contain the spread of infection.

Got tips or questions on how to improve your flu prevention strategy? Please leave them in the comment box below!

One comment

  • April 13, 2017 - 2:46 pm | Permalink

    I love it when people come together and share opinions, great blog,
    keep it up.

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