Seasonal Flu: Protection Starts with Prevention
What is Influneza? (Flu)
Influenza, commonly referred to as “flu” or “seasonal flu,” is a virus that causes a common respiratory infection with fever and often respiratory complications that is easily passed from human to human. People over the age of 65, young children and people with weakened immune systems are most at risk of being infected with the flu. A vaccine is available each year.
How is Influenza Transmitted?
- Touching an infected person
- Touching an object that an infected person has touched or contaminated with droplets
- Droplets generated by sneezing, coughing or talking
- Occurs over a distance of 3-6 feet
How Long Does the Influenza Virus Survive on Surfaces?
Stainless steel and plastic
- Survives 24 - 48 hours
- Transferred to hands up to 24 hours
Cloth, paper, tissues
- Survives 8 - 12 hours
- Transferred to hands up to 15 minutes
- Survives up to 5 minutes
- Increase frequency of disinfection and hand hygiene
Hand Hygiene, Cleaning and Disinfecting
Proper Hand Washing is Key
The CDC recommends these steps for handwashing:
- Wet hands with clean, running water (warm or cold), turn off the tap and apply soap
- Rub hands together to lather the soap. Clean the backs of hands, between fingers and under nails
- Scrub for at least 20 seconds
- Rinse well under clean, running water
- Dry with a clean towel or air dry
Proper Hand Sanitization is Key
The CDC recommends these steps for hand sanitization:
- Remove any dirt from hands with soap and water
- Apply alcohol-based rub product to palm
- Rub hands together until it disappears (15-20 seconds)
Thoroughly Wash Table Ware
For machine warewashing, ensure the machine is functioning properly:
- Check the gauges and compare their readings with the minimum temperatures, chemical concentrations and pressure measurements listed on the data plate.
For manual warewashing, wash rinse and sanitize are the three essential steps.
- Use a three-basin sink (each basin deep and wide enough to fit your largest pots and pans), a clean and hot– water supply, and adequate drainage for wastewater.
Importance of Cleaning and Disinfecting Surfaces
- Cleaning and disinfecting reduces the number of harmful microorganisms on the surface
- Lowers the risk that the next person who touches a surface, then puts hand to mouth, nose or eyes, will become infected
- Use a disinfectant with a label claim for influenza virus